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! I 

T H E 

Atheiftical Objections, 


I y 



Fairly Conjidered, and Fully Refuted. 

I N 

Eight Sermons, 

Preach'd in the 

Cathedral-Church of St. Paul, 

London, 1698. Being the Seventh Year 
of the LECTURE Founded by the Honourable 


an J Fellow of the Royal- Society. 


Printed by J. L. for Richard Wilkin, at the 
Kings-Head m St. Paul's Church-Tard, i^q^. 

Immorality and Pride 

The Great Caufes of 



Preach* d at the 

Cathedral-Church of St. Paul 7 
January the 3 d * 1 69I 


The Eirft of the L e c t u r e for that Year, 

Founded by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efq; 


and Fellow of the Royal-Society. 


Printed by J. L. for Richard Wilkin, at the 
Kjngs-Htad in St. Paul's Church-Tardy 1698. 

Mod Reverend Father in God 

Lord Archbifhop of Canter bury ; 

Sir Henry Ashurst Baronet ; 
Sir John Rotheram Serjeant at 

John Evelyn Senior Efcjuire ; 

Truftees appointed by the Will of the Hono- 
rable ROBERT BOYLE Efquire. 

Mod Reverend and Honoured, 

AS I had the Honour to Preach this $er-- 
mon by your Kind and Generous Ap- 
pointment , fo I now Publifh it in 
Obedience to your Commands, and humbly offer 
it, as alfo my enfuing Difcourfes, to your Candid 
Patronage and Acceptance. I have (in pur- 
fuance of Tour Grace' s direction) Jiudied to be 
as Plain and Intelligible as pojjibly I could, 

A 3 and 

and flail, by the Divine Ajfiftance, profecute 
my whole Defign after the fame manner ; 
which Method of Treating thif SubjeSl, appears 
'very Suitable to the Pious and Excellent Defign 
of Our Noble and Honourable Founder. 

I humbly defire your Prayers to Almighty 
God, that He will vouchfafe to render my weak^ 
Endeavours effeStual to (hew the Ground- 
lefsnefs and lnconclufivenefs of thofe Obje- 
ctions which Atheiftical Men ufually bring 
again ft the great and Important Truths of 
Religion ; which is the End they are fwcerely 
directed to y by 

Moft Reverend and Honoured, 

Your mod obliged 

humble Servant, 

J. Harris. 


P SAL M X. 4. 

The Wicked through the Pride of his Counte- 
nance , will not fee\ after God : Neither is 
God in all his Thoughts. 

IN this Pfalm is Contained a very lively De- 
fcription of the Infolence of AtheifKcal and 
Wicked Men, when once they grow Powerful 
and Numerous ; for then, as we read at the 
Third Verfe , they will proceed fo far, as openly to 
hoaft of and glory in their Impiety : They will boldly 
defie and contemn the great God of Heaven and Earth, 
v. 1 3 . They will deny his Providence^ v. 1 1 . and defpife 
his Vengeance : And, as we are told in thele words of 
my Text, They will grow fo Proud and high, as to 
fcorn to pay him any Honour or Worfliip, to Pray 
to him or Call upon him ; but will endeavour to 
banilh the very Thoughts of his Being out of their 
Minds, the Wicked through the Pride of his, &c. : 

In which words} w r e have an Account more par- 
ticularly, by what Methods and Steps Men advance 
to fuch an Exorbitant height of Wiekednefs, as to 
fet up for Atheifm, and to deny the Exiftence of a - 
God ; for there are in them thele Three Particulars* 
which I fliall confider in their Order. . 

I. Here is the general Character or Qualifications 
of the. Perfon the Pfalmift fpeaks of; which 
is , That he is a Wicked Man. The Wicked 
through the Pride } &c . II, The 

Immorality and Pride 

II. The particular kind ofWickednefs, or the Origin 
from whence the Spirit of Atheifm and Irre- 
ligion doth chiefly proceed; And That is Pride. 
The Wicked through the Pride of his Counte* 
nance, &c. And, 

iff. Here is the great Charge that is brought againft 
this Wicked and Proud Man ; viz. Wilful Atheifm 
and Infidelity : He will not fee k after God : Neither 
is God in all his Thoughts : Or , as it is in the 
Margin of our Bibles, with good Warrant from 
the Hebr. All his Thoughts are there is no God. 

In difcourfing on the two Firfl of thefe Heads, 
I mall endeavour to fliew, that Immorality and Pride 
are the great Cau fes of the Growth of Atheifm 
amongft us : And on the Third, I mall confider the 
Objections that Atheiftical Men ufually bring againft 
the being of a Deity, and mew how very weak and 
invalid they are. 

And firfl I think it very Necefiary to fay fome- 
thing of the Caufes of Infidelity and Atheifm, and to 
Ihew how it comes to pals that Men can poffibly ar- 
rive to fo great a height of Impiety. This my Text 
naturally leads me to, before I can come to the great 
Subject I defign to Difcourle upon ; and I hope it 
may be of very good ufe to difcover the Grounds of 
this heinous Sin, and the Methods and Step by which 
Men advance to it ; that fo thofe who are not yet 
hardened in it, nor quite given up to a Reprobate 
Mind, may, by the Blefling of God, take heed, and 
avoid being engaged in fuch Courfes as do naturally 

lead into it. 

T. Therefore 


the great Caufes ofAtheifm. 

I. Therefore let us confider the general Chara&er 
or Qualifications of the Perfon here fpoken of in my 
Text , And that is, that he is a Wicked Man. The 
wicked through the Pride, &c. 

And this is every where the Language of the Sa- 
cred Scripture , when it fpeaks of Atheiftical Men. 
David tells us (Pfal. 14. 1. and $1. 1.) that 'tis the 
Fool (i. e. the Wicked Man, for fo the word Natal 
often fignifies, and is fo here to be underflood) 'Tis 
he that hath faid in his heart there is no God. 'Tis 
fuch an one as is a Fool by his own fault ; one flu- 
pified and dull'd by Vice and Luft , as he fu/ficiently 
explains it afterwards ; one that is corrupt and become 
filthy ', and that hath dene ahominalle works. So the 
Apoftle St. FWfuppofes, that thofe Men will have in 
them an evil heart of unbelief who do depart from 
the living God , and live without him in the world. 
And indeed, it is very Natural to conclude, That 
thole which are once debauched in their Praflices, 
may eafily grow fo in their Principles : For when 
once 'tis a Man's Intereft that there mould be no 
God , he will readily enough disbelieve his Exi- 
Hence : We always give our aflent very precipi- 
tantly to what we wifh for, and would have to be 
true. A Man opprefled with a Load of Guilt, and 
confeious to himielf, that he is daily obnoxious to 
the Divine Vengeance, will be often very uneafie, 
reftlefs, and diilatisfied with himfelf, and his Mind 
muft be filled with Difmal and Ill-boding Thoughts. 
He is unwilling to leave his Sins, and to forego 
the prefent Advantage of Senfual Pleaiiire ; and yet 

B he 

Immorality and Pride 

. he cannot but be fearful too , of the Punifliments 
of a Future State , and vehemently difturbed now 
and then, about the account that he mufl one day give 
of his Aftions. 

Now, 'tis very Natural for a Man under fuch 
Circum fiances, to catch at any thing that doth but 
feem to offer him a little Eafe and Quiet, and that 
can help him to make off his melancholy Appre- 
henfion of impending Punifhment and Mifery. Some 
therefore bear down all Thought and Confideration 
of their Condition, in an uninterrupted enjoyment 
of Senfual Delights, and quite ftuphre and drown 
their Conference and Reaibn in continual Exceffes 
and Debauchery ; and thus very many commence 
, Atheifts, out of downright Sottifhnefs and Stupi- 
dity, and come at laft to helieve nothing of the 
Truths of Religion, becaufe they never think any 
thing about it , nor underftand any thing of it. 
Others, who have been a little enured to think- 
ing, and have gotten fome fmall fmattering in the 
(uperficial Parts of Learning, will endeavour to de- 
fend their wicked Practices by fome pretence to 
Reafon and Argument. Thefe will one while juftifie 
their Actions, by forced and wrefted Citations and 
Explications of fome particular Texts of Scripture ; 
at another time they will fhroud themfelves under 
the Examples of the Prevarications of fome great 
Men in Sacred Scripture, as a Licence to them, to 
be guilty of the fame or the like wicked Afts j 
without confidering at all, of their great Penitence 
afterwards. Sometimes they will difpute the Eter- 
nity of Hell Torments, deny that their Soul fhall 


the gredt Caufes of Atheifm. 5 

furvive the Body, and pleafe themfelves with the 
glorious hopes of being utterly annihilated. Now 
they will argue againft the Freedom of their own 
Wills ; and by and by, againft that of the Divine 
Nature : and from loth conclude, that there can be 
no harm nor evil in what they do , becauie they 
are abfolutely neceffitated to every thing they com- 
mit. But againft all this precarious ftuf£ the Sa- 
cred Scriptures do yet appear and afford a fuiS- 
cient Refutation. The next Step therefore muft 
be to quarrel at, and expofe them ; to pretend that 
there are Abfurdities , Contradictions and Inconfiften- 
cies in them : To aflert that the Religion they con- 
tain, is nothing but a meer Human and Political 
Inftitution , and the Invention of a Crafty and de- 
signing Order of Men, to promote their own Inte- 
reft and Advantage; but that they are of no manner 
of Divine Authority, nor Univerfal Obligation. 
And when once they get thus far, they begin to 
be at Liberty ; now they can purfue their vicious 
Inclinations without controul of their Confciences, 
or the Conviclion of God's holy Word, and are 
got above the Childifh Fears of Eternal Mifery. By 
this time, the true and through Calenture of Mind 
begins ; they grow now delirioufly enamoured with 
the feign'd Produces of their own Fancies ; and 
thefe Notions appear to them now, adorned with 
fuch bright and radiant Colours, and fo beautiful 
and glorious, that they will rufh headlong into this 
Fools Paradife, though Eternal Deftru&ion be at 
the bottom ; for now they ftick at nothing ; They 
Retrench the Deity of all his Attributes, abfolutely 
deny his Prefidence over the Affairs of the World, 

B z a»nd 

Immorality and Pride 

and make him nothing but a kind of necejfary and 
Wind Qaufe of things •, Nature , the Soul of the World, 
or fome fuch word, which they have happened to 
meet with in the Ancient Heathen Writers. But 
they Profefs that 'tis impoffible to have any Idaa 
of him at all ; and what they cannot conceive or 
have an Ida a of, they fay is nothings and by Con- 
fequence there can be no fuch thing as a God; 
This, or fuch like, I'm perfwaded is the ufual Me- 
thod , by which thefe kind of Men advance to 
abfolute Infidelity and Atheifm : And in this, they 
are every flep confirmed and eflabliflied by the 
feeming Wit, and real Boldnefc, with which Athe- 
iftical Men drefs up their Arguments and Dif- 
courfes; and of which, if they were (tripped and di- 
vefted, their weaknefs and inconclufivenefs mufl needs 
appear to every one. But the Mirth and Humour, 
and that Surprifing and Extravagant Vein of talk- 
ing which always abounds in the Company of fuch 
Men, fo fuits and agrees with his own vicious Incli- 
nations, that he becomes eafily prejudiced againft 
the Truth of Religion , and any Obligation to its 
Precepts and Injunctions : And fo he will foon 
refolve to feek no more after God, but will employ all 
his Thoughts to prove that there is no fuch Being 
in the World. 

But on the other hand, it appears wholly in> 
poffible for a Man to arrive at fuch a pitch as 
abfolute Infidelity and Atheifm 1 , if he hath been 
virtuoufly Educated, and be enclined to live a Sober 
2nd a Moral Life. For there is certainly nothing 
that Religion enjoins, but what is exactly agreeable 


the great Caufes of Atheifm. 

to the Rules of Morality and Virtue ; nothing but 
what is conformable to right Reafon and Truth ; 
nothing but what is fubftantially good and plea- 
fant, and nothing but what will approve it felf to a 
thinking Mind, as certainly conducing to die good 
of Human Society, and to every ones Quiet, Eafe, 
and Happinefs here in thisLife : And over and above 
this, it gives us an aflurance of a glorious Immor- 
tality in the World to come. 

Now, Can it be imagined, that any fober and 
virtuous Man, and one that is not prejudiced by the 
Inducements of Senfual Pleafure, if he krioufly con- 
fiders things , will not be induced to take upon 
him the Profefllon of our holy Religion : and with 
all due Gratitude to our Gracious God, accept of 
fb vaft a Reward as this of Eternal Happinefs ? 
Efpecially too when it is for doing that only out 
of a true Principle of Religion, which it is fuppofed 
he was inclined to perform without it, by the Prin* 
ciples of Reafon and Honour. A Man that is enclined 
to live virtuoufly, juflly, temperately, and peaceably 
in this prefent World, will foon be fatisrled, if he 
read the Holy Scriptures , that it is this which 
lies at the Bottom of all Revealed Religion, and for 
whofe Advancement and Propagation among Man- 
kind, all that gracious Difpenfation was contrived 
and delivered to us. What reafon can therefore be 
poiTibly affigned, why fuch a Perfon mould disbelieve 
the Truths of Religion ? Is not a defire of Happinefs 
fo Natural to us, that 'tis the great Inducement of 
all our Actions ? and will not every Man aim to get 
as much cf this as he can, according to the Notion 


8 Immorality and Pride 

he hath of it ? what is there then that can prejudice 
fuch a Man's Mind againft the Belief and Expectation 
of a future Reward at the hand of God ? Is it not 
Natural to embrace any offer that propofes to us a 
great Advantage? and are not we very ready to 
believe the Truth of any thing that is advanced of 
that Nature ? The Great Truths therefore of Reli- 
gion, containing nothing impoffible, abfurd or im- 
probable in them , and exhibiting to him Infinite 
Advantages on fuch eafie Conditions, mufl needs 
be the delightful Objects of a Good and Virtuous 
Man's Faith. He, indeed, that hath jufl Grounds 
to fear that his Irregular Life will incapacitate him 
for the Favour of God, and the Joys of another 
World, may be willing, and at lafl infatuated fo 
far, as really to disbelieve what he knows he cannot 
obtain. But one that is of a Moral, Sober and Vir- 
tuous Difpolition , can never be fiippofed to be fo 
unaccountably abfurd, as to commence Atheift con- 
trary to his Interefl, his Inclination^ and his Reafon. 

And as 'tis hardly poflible to conceive a Perfon 
can be an Atheift, without being firft Wicked ; fo it 
appears as difficult to imagine, that if he be an A- 
theift, he mould not continue to be fo. I know 
the Contrary is often pretended ; viz. That one that 
believes nothing of a God or Religion, may yet be, 
and often is guided by a Principle of Reafon and 
Honour^ and will do to others as he would be done 
unto himfelf: Such an one ( it is f aid) will be fa- 
tisfied of the Necefiity of Humane Laws, and of the 
Advantages that do thence arife to Mankind: He 
will think himfelf obliged to fubmit to the Laws of 


Vfe g r *^ Or(/^5 of Atheifm. 9 

his Country, and confequently will keep up to the 
Rules of common Juftice and Honefty ; and this (fay 
they) is enough, and all that Religion can pretend to 
enjoin, (a) There is a late French Author, that en- („) Pe „f ees & 
deavours to maintain by Arguments and Examples, *«■/«■ Writes a 
that the Principles of Atheifm do not neceflarily lead ZZtnc t 
to Vice and Immorality. But in the Proof of this, roccajion de u 
he comes very fhort of his Defign. He alledges, Cmite &P*- 
That fome Profefling Chriflianity have always, and Deimbre! 
do ftill, live as bad Lives and as wickedly as any itfto. Rotter- 
Atheifts whatfoever can do : And that fome Atheifts dam * Bvo ' 
have lived very Regularly and Morally. But what 
then ? Allowing and granting all this ,• it doth 
not in the leaft follow that Atheifm doth not lead to 
Immorality and a Corruption of Manners. For it is 
neither averted that Atheifm is the only way of be- 
coming Wicked ; nor that an Atheift mull neceflarily 
be guilty of all manner of Vice. No doubt very many 
Men betake themfelves to a finful Courfe , without 
having any Principles to juftine themfelves by, as 
the Atheift pretends to : But are drawn into Wicked- 
nefs purely by Tncogitancy and want of Confidera- 
tion. And fuch kind of Perfons, though they make 
an outward Profeffion of Chriftianity, yet they may 
be, and doubtlefs often are,as Vicious and Immoral as 
any other Men, without ever arriving at the Point of 
Speculative Atheifm^ or perhaps without ever fo much 
as doubting of the Being of a God, of the Truth 
of Religion, or of a Future State of Rewards and 
Punilhments. No one faith alfo that an Atheift muft 
neceflarily be guilty of all manner of Vice and Immo- 
rality : But 'tis plain enough, that his Principles lead 
Mm to profecute any vicious Inclination that is fuitable 


i o Immorality an! Pride 

to him, and to do d/y //>i#g that he can fafely, to 
procure to himfelf that kind of Happineis or Satis- 
faction he propofes to enjoy. Many Sins are dif- 
agreeable to fome particular Periods and Circum- 
ftances of a Man's Life, to his Conflitution, Genius 
and Humour. Now 'tis eafie to fuppofe a Man may 
abftain from fuch, for his own Eafe, Health and Qui- 
et's fake. Self-Love will preferve theAtheift from 
fuch open and notorious Ads of Wickednefs, as will 
expofe him to the Capital Punifhment of Human 
Laws ; and which will endanger depriving him of 
his Being here, where he only propofes to be happy. 
This Principle alio of Self-Love, will hinder him 
from expofing himfelf to Ignominy and Scandal ; 
and will make him endeavour to keep fair in the 
Opinions of thofe whofe difefteem would give him a 
great degree of Unhappinefs. But it doth not in 
the leaft follow from hence , that becaule he is not 
guilty of all wanner , or of this or that particular 
Vice, that therefore he is a good Moral Man, and 
guilty of none at all : It cannot be concluded from 
hence, that fuch a Perfon will avoid committing any 
Fad, be it never fo Wicked, when it is ftript of all 
thefe Inconveniences, andean be done (ecretly, fafely 
and iecurely : when 'tis agreeable to his Conftitution 
and Humour, fafhionable and gentile, and contributes 
very much to that kind of Satisfaction he is inclin'd 
to ; for as one that had confider'd this Point well, 
obferves, .Self Love, which like Fire covets to refolve 
all things into it felf wakes Men they care not what 
yfflatty or what Impiety they Act, fo it may but con- 
duce to their own Advantage. (Preface to Great is Diana 
of the Ephefians.) And indeed, if he be not abfo- 


the great Caufes of Atheifm. i r 

Jutely Stupid, and one that propofes to himfelf no 
manner of End at all, he will certainly do this very 
thing : He will purfue and praftife Indifferently fuch 
kind of Defigns and Actions , be they good or bad, 
as will give him as much Pleafure and Happinefs as 
he can have here in this fiiort Life, where, Miferable 
Wretch as he is, he only hath any hope. And nothing 
can nor will hinder fuch a Perfon from endeavouring 
to do or obtain any thing he hath a Mind to, but 
the fear of being expofed to Punimment and Mifery 
here, from thofe among whom he lives. Now, this 
Confideration can have no place in fecret Actions, 
and confequently nothing will hinder a Man of thefe 
abominable Principles from committing the mod bar- 
barous VUlany that is confident with his Safety, 
and fubfervient to his Defires ; that can be either 
concealed in Secrefie, or iupported by Power. For, 
as to the Principle of Honour , that fuch Men will 
pretend to be governed and guided by, and which 
they would fet up to fupply the Room of Confci- 
ence and Religion ; 'tis plain , that 'tis the verieft 
Cheat in Nature : 'tis nothing but a meer abufive 
Name, to gull the World into a Belief that they 
have ibme kind of Principle to acl: and proceed by, 
and which keeps them from doing an III thing .» 
Whereas the Atheift can have no Principle at all, 
but that fordid one of Self Love; which will dill carry 
him to the perpetrating of any thing indifferently, 
according as it bed conduces to his prefent Inte- 
red and Advantage. They deny that there are 
any Adtions truly Good or Honourable, or Wicked 
and Bafe in themfelves ; but that this is all owing 
to the peculiar Cudoms, Laws, and Conditutions 

C of 

1 2 Immorality and Pride 

of Places and Countries : And that as all Men-ire, 
fo Attions alfo, are naturally equal and alike : And 
how far fuch Notions as thefe will carry Men ? . 
'tis very eafie both to Imagine and to Obferve. One 
would think nothing could be more Noble, Ho- 
nourable and Comely, than for a Man to flick 
firm and conflant to thofe Principles that he pre- 
tends to, and by no means whatever to be brought 
to abjure and deny them. Sincerity is fo lovely 
and defirable a Vertue, that it doth approve it 
felf, as it were naturally, to the reafon of all Man- 
kind : and 'tis equally Ufeful , nay , indeed Necef- 
fary, to the due Government of the World. But 
this Noble Virtue, fo peculiar to a Man- of True 
honour and greatnefs of Mind , the Atheift will 
practife no longer than it is for his Intereft and 
Advantage , and while it is confident with his 
Safety. That Men may profefs or deny any thing 
to fave their Lives , is the avowed Principle ot 
one of their great Writers. And the fame is ex? 
prefly aflerted in other words, even in letfer Ca- 
fes than that of Danger of Death, by the Tran- 
slator of Thiloftratuss Life of Apollonius Tyanaus^ 
with a great Pretence to Wit and Humour. But 
if Men may Lye and Prevaricate from fo bafe and 
abjecl: a Principle as Fear, no doubt they may do 
lb for Intereft and Advantage, for that is certainly 
as good a ground , as Cowardlinefs and Bafenefs ; 
and then what becomes of this boafted Honour 
that is fo much talk'd of; this greatnefs oj f Mind, 
that will keep a Man from doing an /// thing, 
In reality , 'twill at laft amount to no more than 
this, that he will forbear doings III Thing, when 


the great Cau/es of Atheifm. 1 3 

he thinks it will prove ill to him : he will be Juft, 
Honeft and Sincere when he dont dare be other- 
wife, for fear of the Law, Shame, and Ignominy : 
For all Men of Atheiftical Principles would be 
Knaves and Villains // they durft, if they could do 
it iafely and fecurely : fuch a Man ('tis like) fhall 
return you a Bag of Money, or a rich Jewel you 
happen to depole in his Hands; but why is it ? 
'tis becaufe he dares not keep it and deny it ; 'tis 
great odds but he is difcovered and exj>ofed by this 
means; arid befides, 'tis Unfashionable and Ungenteel 
to be a Cheat in fuch Cafes. But to impoverifh a 
Family by Extravagance and Debauchery , to de- 
fraud Creditors of their juft Debts, or Servants of 
their Wages , to Cheat at Play , to violate one's 
Neighbour's Bed to gratifie one's own Luft, are 
things , which though to the full as Wicked and 
Unreafonable in themfelves, are yet fwallowed down 
as allowable enough, becaufe common and ufual, and 
which are not, the more is the pity, attended with 
that Scandal and Infamy that other Vices are. Thus 
'tis very plain, that this pretended Principle of Ho- 
nour in an Atheift or a Wicked Man, and this Obe- 
dience and Deference that he pretends to pay to 
the Laws of his Country, is a mod Partial and 
Changeable thing , and vaftly different from that 
true Honour and Bravery that is founded on the 
Eternal Bafis of Confcience and Religion ; ^tis an 
Airy Name that ferves only to amufe unthinking 
and iliort-fighted Perfons into a Belief, that he hath 
fome kind of Principles that he will ftick to ; that 
fo he may be thought fit to be trufted, dealt and 
converfed with all in the World. 

C 2, And 

1 4. Immorality and Pride 

And thus, I think, it is very clear and apparent that 
Wicked nefs naturally leads to Infidelity and Atheifm, 
and Infidelity and Atheifm to the Support and Main- 
tenance of That : And that // is the Wicked that will 
not feek after God, and whofe thoughts are that there 
is no God. Which was my Firffc Particular. 

Lcome next to Confider, 
II. That Peculiar Rind of Wickednefs which the 
PfaimiO: here takes notice of, as the chief Ground 
from whence Infidelity and Atheifm proceed : And 
that is Pride. The Wicked, through the Pride of his 
Countenance will not feek afte.r God, neither is God in 
all his Thoughts. 

And I queftion not but this Vice of Pride, is gene- 
rally the Concomitant of Infidelity , and the chief 
Ground from whence the Spirit of "Speculative Atheifm 
proceeds. When Men of proud and haughty Spi- 
rits lead ill Lives, as they very often do, they al- 
ways endeavour to juftifie themfelves in their Pro- 
ceeding, be it never fo Irregular and Abfurd, and 
never To contrary to the confiderate Sentiments of 
all the reft of the World. A Proud Man hates to 
acknowledge himfelf in an Errour, and to own that 
he hath committed a Fault : He would have the 
World believe that there is a kind of Indefettihility 
in his Underftanding and Judgment , which fecures 
feim from being deceived and miflaken like other 
Mortals. Whatever Actions therefore fuch a Perfbn 
commits, he would fain have appear reafonable and 
judicable. But he fees plainly that he cannot make 


the great Cdufes of Atheijm \ 5 

Wickednefs and Immorality do fo , as Jong' as Reli- 
gion Hands its Ground in the World. The Sacred 
Scriptures are fo plain and exprels againft fuch a 
courfe of Life, that there is no avoiding being con- 
victed and condemned while their Authority re- 
mains good : . 'Tis impoilible any way to reconcile 
a vicious Life to the Doctrine there delivered : And 
therefore he kcs plainly, That one that Profefles to 
believe the great Truths of Religion, and the Divine 
Authority of thofe Sacred Books, and yet by his 
Practices gives the Lye to his ProfeiTion, and while 
he acknowledges Jefus Chriffc in his Words , doth in 
his Works deny him ; he fees, I fay, that fuch an one 
flands ccjIonetrcU^/K^ , Self-condemned , and can 
never acquit himfelf either to his own Confcience 3 
or to the Reafon of Mankind. Now this is per- 
fectly dhagreeable to the Genious and Humour of 
a Proud Man ; he cannot bear to be thought in 
any refpect Incoherent or Inconfiftent with him- 
felf : And therefore having vainly tried to juftifie 
himfelf in his Wickednefs , by alledging the Exam- 
ples of fome good Men in Sacred Scripture, that 
have been guilty of great Sins, but whofe Repentance 
he can by no means digeft : And having alfo fruitlefsly 
endeavoured to rely on the perverted Senfe of fome 
particular Texts of Scripture , which he knows 
are fufficiently refuted by the Analogy of the whole • 
he finds at lafl that 'tis the belt way to deny 
the Divine Authority of the Bible, and the Truth 
of all Revelation, and fo boldly fhake off at once 
all Obligation to the Rules of Piety and Virtue ; 
and fince Religion cant be wrefted fb as to give 
an allowance to his way of living, he will take 


1 6 Immorality and Pride, &c. 

it quite away, Banifh that and God Almighty out of 
the World,andy^ up Iniquity by a Law. And nothing 
can be more pleafmg and agreeable to the Arrogance 
of fuch Men than this way of Proceeding : It gra- 
tifies an infolent and haughty Spirit prodigioufly, 
to do things out of the common Road; to pretend 
to be Adept in a Philofophy that is as much above 
the reft of Mankind's Notions , as 'tis Contradictory 
to it : to adume to himfelf a Power of feeing much 
farther into things than other Folk, and to penetrate 

(a) VkL Jul. into the deepefl recefles of Nature. (a) He would 
? 1 ;? l nl "' pais for one of Nature's Cabinet Counceliors, a Bo- 
in Tituio & fome Favourite that knows all the lecret Springs 
Epift. Dedica- f A&ion, and the flrft remote Caufes of all Things. 

He pleafes himfelf mightily to have difcovered 
with what Ridiculous Bugbears the Generality of 

Mankind are awed and frighted,- 

(b) Defficere un&e que as alios Jaflimq;, ne can now 1 00 ]<. ^own ^ ^^ 

ZrrZe%w warn palates q**- a Scornful Pity on the poor 
rere viu. Lucr. lib. 2. groveling Vulgar,the Unthink- 

ing Mobb below, that are poor- 
ly enHaved and terrified by the Fear of a God , and 
of 'Ills to come they know not when nor where ; He 
defpifes fuch dull Biggots as will be impofed upon 
by Prieib, and that will fuperftitioufly abftain from 
the Enjoyment of prefent Pleafure , on account of 
^ fuch idle Tales as the Comminations of Religion. 

And as he defpifes thofe that are not Wicked, fo he 
upbraids thofe that are fo, with inconfiftency with 
their Principles and Profeffion, and for doing the 
fame things that he doth , when they have nothing 
to bear them out : And thus he doubly gratifies 
his Pride, by juftifying himfelf, and condemning 


the great Caufes of At bet fa. i j 

and triumphing over others. Nay, the very Mi- 
flakes and Errours of fuch a Man, we are told, ap- 
pear laudable and great to him, and he can pleafe 
himfelf at Jafr, with laying, That he hath not Erred 
like a Fool, lut Secundum Verbum. Vtd. Oracles of 
Reafon, p. 91. When Men have a while enured 
themfelves to talk at this rate, and to blow them- 
felves up with fuch lofty Conceits and Fancies, they 
grow by degrees more and more opinionated, and 
do dote more and more on their own dear Notions ; 
and finding by this means quiet and eafe in the 
Pra&ice of their Sins, they at lad degenerate fo far 
as firmly to believe the Truth of what they perhaps 
at firfl advanced and talk'd only from a Spirit of 
Contradiction ; and become fo flupid and blind, 
as, like great Liars, to believe their own Figments 
and Inventions (a). To fuch any Extravagant and W vid « Gr ^ 
Inconfiflent Hypothecs, fo it do but clam witbf^f*^ 
Sacred Scripture , fhall be no lefs than a real De 
monflration ; a Bold and daring Falfity mall pafs for 
undoubted Truth ; and a Prophane Jeff, or a Scur- 
rilous Reflection on the Character or Perfon of one 
in Holy Orders, fhall be a fufficient Refutation of 
the plained: Demonflration he can bring againil 
their Principles and Practices. ♦ For it is mod cer- 
tain, that though a Proud Man always think him- 
felf in the right , and arrogate to himfelf an Ex* 
emption from the common Frailties and Errours of 
Mankind ; yet there is no body fo frequently de- 
ceived and miflaken, as he ; for he doth fo over-? 
eflimate all his Faculties and Endowments, and is 
fo much enamoured of, and Trulls fo much to his 
own Quicknefs and. Penetration , that he ufualiy 


1 8 Immorality and Pride 

Imagines his Great Genius able to Mailer any thing 
without the fervile fatigue of Pains and Study : and 
therefore he will never give himfelf Time ferioufly 
to examine into things , he fcorns and hates the 
Drudgery of deeply revolving and comparing the 
Idceas of things in his Mind, but rafhly proceeds 
to Judgment and Determination on a very Tranfient 
and Superficial View : And there will he flick, be 
the Refolution he is come to never fo abfurd and 
Unaccountable ; for he is as much above conferring 
an Errour in Judgment, as he is of Repenting of 
a Fault in Practice. And indeed , as the abiurd 
and ridiculous Paradoxes which Atheiftical Writers 
maintain , ihew their ihallow infight into things, 
and their Precipitancy in forming a Determination 
about them; lb the Pride and Haughtinefs with 
which they deliver them, abundantly demonftrates 
'the True Spirit of fuch Authors , and the Real 
Ground both of their Embracing and Maintaining 
their Opinions. Plato defcribes the Atheifts of his 
Age, to be a Proud, Iniblent, and Haughty fort of 
Men, the Ground of whole Opinion was, he faith, 
dfULoB&ta {aA\cl yctKii^y in reality, a very mifchie* 
vous Ignorance ; though to the conceited Venders 
and Embracers of it AoxSov, 1?) juiypi p^Wis, ^ 
ffopa>1<iryi nvdvluiv XoycDv. It appeared to be the great eft 
Wifdom, and the Wifeft of all Opinions. Lattantius 
tells us in his Difcourfe, De Ira Dei, p. 729. Oxen. 
that the true Reafon why Diagoras Melius and Theo- 
dorusy two of the Ancient Atheifts denied a Deity 
was, That they might gain the Glory of being the 
Authors of fome new Opinion , contradictory to the 
common Notions of Mankind. And of thQ former of 



the great Caufes ofAthetfm. i p 

thefe, Diagoras, Sexttis Empiricus acquaints us, Tint 
becaufe a certain perjured Perfon, who had wrong' d 
him, lived unpunifhed by the Gods y he was fo enraged 
at it, that he undertook to maintain there were no Gods 
at all. Lib. Adr. Mathem. Edit. Genev. i6zi. 

The like Pride and Arrogance Laclantius tells us 
he found in the two great Writers that appeared a- 
gainft Chriftianity, in his time, in Bithynia. The 
former of thefe, who, 'tis probable, was the famous 
Porphyry, called himfelf Antijles Philofophia , the 
Chief or Prince of Philofophers ; and faith Lattan- 
tius, Nefcio utrum Super litis an Import unius , pretended 
to corretl the blind Errors of Mankind, and to guide 
Men into the True Way ; He could not bear, that Un- 
skilful and Innocent Perfons foould be en/laved by the 
Cheats of, and become a Prey to, Crafty and Depgning 
Men. Lib. de Juftit. p. 420, 42,1. Oxon. 

With the like Aflurance do the Modern Writers of 
this kind exprefs themlelves : And though they 
have in reality very little or nothing New, but 
only the Arguments of the Ancients a little varied 
and embelifhed, (as I mail have occafion to obferve 
hereafter more at large,) yet they all fet up for new 
Lights, and mighty Difcoverers of the Secrets of 
Nature and Phiiofophy ; and all of them afliime the 
Glory of firft leading Men into the way of Truth, 
and delivering them out of the dark mazes of Vul- 
gar Errors. This was the pretence of Vanini, who 
was burnt for Atheifm at Tholoufe, A. D. 1619. 
ivhofe Mind, he lays, grew more and more ftrong, 

D healthful 

20 Immorality and Pride 

healthful and rohufl, as he exercifed it in fearching 
out the Secrets of that Supreme Phi- 

,£££?££«&& ¥fr, ■*** » «*# unknot to 
Arcanisinveftigard'svalidior fatlus <fy the common and ordinary Rank of 
nbuftiw i «t PtoJkrMagicm mftrum philofophers : And this, he iaith. 

mod mox ex umbra in lucemprodtbit pel. • n r 7 vr it 1 

legem, qua pofteritas facile eft Jodie* mil Joon be d/f cove red, by the per- 
wa, ufal of his Phyfico-Magicum, which 

was now to fee the Light. Fid. Vanini Amphitheatr. 

in Epift. Dedicat. 

After the fame manner do Machiavel, Spinoza, 
* Holbs, Blount, and all the late Atheiftical Writers* 

deliver themfelves ; Inftances of which, I think, I 
need not flay to give, fince 'tis confpicuous through 
the whole courfe of their Writings, and, no doubt, 
taken notice of by every Reader ; only of the firfl 
of thefe, viz. Machiavel, I cannot but take notice, . 
that Vanini himfelf faith, that 'twas his Pride and 
Covetoufnefs that made him deny the Truth of the 
Miracles recorded in Sacred Scripture. Amphitheatr, 
p. 51. Edit. Lugduni, 1615. 

And as the Writings, fo the Difcourfes of thefe 
Gentlemen do equally difcover this Pride and Vanity : 
for they do ufually deliver themfelves with fuch a 
fcornful and contemptuous Air, when they either en- 
deavour to eftablifh their own, or to overthrow their 
Adver fames Arguments, as fufficiently fliews the Pro- 
priety and Truth, of the Pihlmift's Obfervation here, 
that 'tis through the pride of his countenance, that the 
wicked mill not fee k after God. The LXXIf. indeed 
lender it, aa.ra 70. 7rAyj0(^, £ Igyjfc. avrti ' Through 


the gredt Caufes of Atheifm. 2 1 

the abundance of his wrath : and therein they are 
followed by the vulgar Latin. As if the Wicked 
were angry again ft God, and enraged at his Pref- 
dency over Humane Affairs : as if they fretted un- 
der, and quarelled at the Severity of his Laws and 
Government, and fcorned to apply themielves to 
him by Prayer, and to fubmit to him by Obedience. 
But though this may be a good fence of the words ; 
and though, I doubt not, a ftubborn Frowardnefs 
and Perverfenefs of our Wills againfl the Will of 
God, may be a frequent caufe and ground of Infide- 
lity : yet our Englifh Translation appears to me to 
be much better warranted from the Hebrew ; for 
there it is properly, through the Elevation of his Nofe 
or Face. Which, truly, is very emphatical, and ex- 
preffes fuch a proud and fcornful gefture of Face, as 
is the natural Indication of the Internal Haughtinefs 
of a Man's Mind ; or as the Targum, on this place, 
render it, of the arrogance of his Spirit. Such a Turn 
and Air of Countenance as argues a proud contempt 
of all the red of Mankind, who trot on in the com- 
mon road, believe and worfhip a God, and poorly 
fubmit to be governed by his Laws and Precepts. 

And thus having difpatched my Two firfl Parti- 
culars, and fhewed, That Wickednefs and Pride are 
two great Caufes of Infidelity and Atheifm ; I iliould 
now proceed to fpeak to the Third thing obfervable 
in my Text, viz. 

III. The great Charge which the Pfalmiil brings s- 
gainftthe wicked Perfon here mentioned, That he will 
not fee k after Cod \ neither is God in all his Thoughts* 

D z But 


2 Immorality and Pride 

But this I mull leave for my next Difcourfe, and 
fell now Conclude with a word or two by way of 


Since the Cafe (lands thus, That Wkkednefs in 
general, and Pride in particular, do fo naturally lead 
to Infidelity and Atheifm ; and that 'tis hardly poffible 
to imagine a Man can entertain fuch an Opinion 
without them : Let every one then, that hath any In- 
clination or Temptation that way, ferioufly examine 
his own Mind, whether he be not prejudiced towards 
it by fome vitious Defires and Affections ; whether 
he doth not heartily wijb that there were no God nor 
Religion; whether he hath not, by his pad Actions, 
really loaded himielf with guilt, and therefore is di- 
ilurbed in his Mind with the apprehenfion, that the 
Divine Punifhment will overtake him, and light upon 
him, for his Sins : Let him fearch diligently whe- 
ther he hath not recourfe to Infidelity, as to an Opiate 
in this cafe, to allay the Pains of his Confcience, 
and to compofe the Diforder of his guilty Mind, and 
to gain, as it were, an Infenfibility in Sinning. For 
if the cafe be thus, 'tis plain, he is not free, and at 
liberty, to make a juft Judgment of the Truth of 
Things ; he is already a Party, and much more 
enclined to one fide of the Queftion than to the 
other ; and confequently, he will pitch on that as 
Truth, which he would have to be fo. But this is 
certainly a very partial way of proceeding, and fuch 
as no wile Man would ufe in a matter of io very great 
moment, to engage one's felf raflily in a Determina- 
tion, before a thorough and careful Examination of 
the Evidence on both iides : This is to look on things 


the great Caufes of Atheifm. 

in a falfe Light, through coloured Glafles, through 
Difeafed and Icterical Eyes; and then to believe 
them to be in reality , what our depraved and preju- 
dicate Apprehensions make them. 

The Enemies to Religion fay, That the Preachers 
of it are not to be minded ; the Arguments thev 
bring are all forced and ftrained, becaufe 'tis their 
Trade, and they get Money by it ; and their Craft 
obliges them to cry out, Great is Diana of the Ephe- 
fians ! I hope therefore this being fb Precarious and 
Partial a way of Proceeding, to fubfcribe to Reli- 
gion by Implicit Faith, and to take it up upon trufl 
from thofe, whofe Intereft (they fay) it is to propa- 
gate it in the World : I hope , I fay, that Men will 
not act fo on the other hand, and embrace Atheifm 
and Infidelity on the fame Precarious Grounds. I hope 
all fuch Perfons can clearly approve themlelves to be 
truly Virtuous and Moral in their inclinations and Pra- 
ctices ; and are fure that they have no ftrong incli- 
nations to fuch Actions as the World calls Vicious, 
For if they have, and do take real Pleasure in the 
Practice of Wickednefs, 'tis plain that they muft bfe 
Prejudiced and Bigotted to their Lufts and Humours ; 
they cannot be Free-thinkers in the Cafe ; the Cloggs 
of ill Cu/low, and a loole Education bear them down, 
and they cannot ihake them off Their prefent In- 
tereft influences and governs their Belief, and enflaves 
and Tyrannizes over their Reafbn. 

Let them confider impartially the Arguments for 
Infidelity , and they will find them all forced and 
flrained Paradoxes^ Invented by Sceptical and Canting 


24 Immorality and Pride, <3cc. 

Thilofophers, a Crafty and Defigning fort of Men, who 
fet up Atheifm becaufe they Get by it, and whofe bite- 
reft it is that there mould be no God and Religion. 

Let not therefore Men be fo flupid and blind as 
to talk of Prejudices on the fide Qf Religion, and 
never perceive that there are any at all on that of 
Infidelity. If they fcorn to take up Religion on truft, 
-without examining into its Grounds and Reafbns ; for 
their Own fakes let them be as Cautious and Inquifi- 
tive on the other hand, and not run Hood-winked 
into Eternal Definition , by fubfcribing to Atheifm 
in haft, and without that previous Consideration and 
Regard , which fo great and important an Affair re- 
quires : For if they will but (trip themfelves of thole 
Prejudices which arife from their Vices, and avoid 
being impetuouily born down by their depraved 
Inclination ; they willfoon perceive that the Grounds 
and Principles of Infidelity are abundantly too pre- 
.carious to afford them any thing like a Demonfirative 
ajfurance of the Falfity of Religion : Without which, 
iiirely no Man of Senfe, and that can think at .all, 
.will ever run .the hazard of Damnation. 


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P SAL. x. 4. 

the Wiclgd) through the Pride of his Com- 
tenance, will not fee\ after God \ neither is 
God in all his Thoughts. 


N thefe words, I have, in a former Difcourfe, 
taken notice of thefe Three Particulars : 

I. The General Character or Qualifications of the 
Perfon here mentioned, which is, That he is a 
Wicked Man. 

II. The Particular Kind of Wicked neft, or Origin 
from whence the Spirit of Atheifm and Irre- 
ligion doth chiefly proceed, and that is Pride ; 
The Wicked, through the Pride of his Counte- 
nance, &c. 

III. The great Charge' which the Pfalmift brings 
againft the Perfon here fpoken of in my Text, 
viz. Wilful Atheifm and Infidelity ; He will not 

feek after God, neither is God in all his Thoughts. 

The Two firft of thefe I have already difpatch'd, 
and therefore mall now proceed to difcourfe on my 
Third Head, viz. 

The great Charge here brought againft this Wicked 
Perfon, That he will not feek after God ; neither 
is God in all his Thoughts : or, as it is in the 
Margin, with good grounds (as I have before 
obferved) from the Hebrew, All 'his Thoughts are, 
There is no God. , 

A z Which 

4 The Atheifis Obje&ion, &c. Refuted. 

Which appears to me to imply a wilful and mali- 
cious flighting and contemning of God, and his Laws, 
and an endeavour to banifh the very Thoughts of his 
Exiftence out of their Minds.. And under this Head, 
I fhall make it my bufinefs to enumerate all the pre- 
tended Arguments and Objections which I have met 
with, and are of any weight, againft the Being of 
a God, in general ; and then endeavour to fliew how 
Weak and Inconclufive they are, and how miferable 
a Support they will prove for Atheifm and Infi- 

But firft it will be neceflary, briefly to clear up 
one Point, and to obviate one Objection that may 
be made againft this very Attempt of mine, of Re- 
futing and Anfwering the Atheifls Arguments and 

It will, I doubt not, be faid, That there is not now, 

nor ever perhaps was in the World, any fuch Perfbn 

as a Speculative Atheift, or one that believes, there is 

no God. It is faid, with great aflurance, by fome, 

That the Ancient Atheifls were only fuch as declared 

againft the Plurality of Gods, and the Idolatry and 

Superftition of the Heathen Worihip. And we 

(a) Two Ef- are told by one, very lately, (a) That he hath tr a- 

fays from Ox- yelled many Countries, and could never meet with any 

%Qkej * C Atheifls, {which are few, if any;) and all theNoife and 

Clamour, faith he, is againft Cajlles in the Air. 

To which I Anfwer, That nothing can be more 
plain and clear, than that both Ancient and Modern 
Writers do give us an account of fuch Perfons as were 
known and reputed Atheifls, by thofe that were Con- 
temporary with them, and did well underftand their 
Principles and Tenets. I need not infift on Proofs 


The AtheijVs Obje&ion, &c. Refuted, 

from any of the Ancient Chriftian Writers ; for 'tis 
fliHicient, that Plato,Diogenes Laertius, Plutarch, Cicero, 
and many others, do acquaint us, that fuch kind of 
Men there have been in the World. Tho' J ihall par- 
ticularly produce the Teftimony of two Authors, one 
ancient, and the other, 'tis probable, now living, 
to prove this Point ; and thefe are, Sextus Empiricus, 
and he that wrote the Thoughts on the Comet that ap- 
peared in the Tear 1680. Sextus is exprels, (a) That (V) Adv. Ma. 
Diagoras Melius, Trodicus Chius, Euemeras, Critias them - P3'7. 
Athenienfis, The odor us, and many others, were abfo- ^fj ^^ 
lute Atheifts, and denied that there were any Gods 
at all. And the French Gentleman (J?) faith the fame , b ^ Pcn r ees d} _ 
of mofl of thofe mentioned by Sextus, and other verfera f oc- 
Ancient Writers; and to the number, adds {ome ca f tonefelaCam 
others of a Modern date : And Mr. Blount faith, £ck*&.? 
(c) that the Epicureans conftantly affirmed, therep. 53 1 - 
were no Gods. Now the Evidence of thefe Au-^^"""'^"^ 
thors will, I hope, be allowed, becaufe they feem p,?5, 
Well-wiihers to the Caufe of Infidelity themfelves. 
To thefe I might add, were it necefTary, That Va- 
ninus himfelf tells us frequently of Atheifts that he 
met with, (and no one will doubt but that he knew 
where to find one at any time,) and he calls Ma- 
chiavel, exprefsly, Atheor urn facile Princeps (d.) But (</) Ampki- 
indeed, this Afiertion of thefe Gentlemen, That theatr - D - Prn - 
there is no fuch thing as an Atheift in the World , is^^'f^ 
like mod other things that they advance, Uncertain 
and Precarious, and often contradicted by what at 
other times they deliver : for though they are fome- 
times, and in fome Companies, forReafons that are 
very obvious, unwilling to take the Title of Atheift 
on themfelves or their Party ; yet they are often 


6 TheAtbeifl'sObjeSiiott)&lc. Refuted* 

ready enough to beflow it on others ; and when it is 
Ca)vid.B&wtf*s f u bfervient to their purpofe,will infinuate, (a) That the 
Ihelift oM- greateft Lights and Teachers of the Church believe 
poi!oniHi,v&4. as little of Religion as themfelves. But I fay alfo, 

^. That 'tis one thing to disbelieve the Exiflence 
of a God, and another to declare fo to the World. 
And it doth not at all follow, that a Man is not an 
Atheift, becaufe he doth not openly profefs himfelf 
to be fo, at all times, and in all Companies. There 
are no Writers fo infincere as thefe kind of Gentlemen ; 
they are very cautious and tender how they expofe 
themfelves to thejuftPunifhmentoftheLaw. Vaninus 
himfelf, though he did at lad fuffer Death madly, for 

(b) Amma his Infidelity, (as one (J?) faith of him, that died as 
MuvdU'wi. tte madly himfelf,) yet is he very cautious and careful, 
/osfp!** * n ^ Writings, how he renders himfelf obnoxious 

to the Cenfure of the Inquifition ; and lie declares, 

( c ) Amphu (c) That he will fubmit all things to the Judgment 
T'uldm °f tne Roman Church. So a Gentleman of our own 

1I15. ^ Nation, though he endeavours, as effectually as 'tis 
poilible, under-hand, to ridicule and undermine Re- 
ligion ; yet he would fain appear to the World to be 
a good Chriftian, and one that hath a mighty Vene- 
ration for God and his Laws : but, in the mean time, 
'tis very eafie to difcover his true Principles and De- 

(d) Bhunt's fig n ; for he declares, (d) That he thinks it much 
■2S4Sa fafer to believe as the Church believes, and to pin his 

Life oiApol- Faith always on my Lord oj Canterbury s Sleeve, as he 
hmus, in the ^jj j ie W1 |j do, anc j fobfcribe to any ridiculous Le- 
gend, rather than incurr the Cenfure of the Topifh 
Clergy ; as he bafely calls the Ministers of this molt 
Excellent FrotejLwt Church : for the fame laudable 
Rcafons alio, he forbears communicating, what be 


T7;e Atheifis ObjeStion^ Sec. Refuted. y 

doth, or ought to think Truth, to Mankind, (as he 
tells us in many places.) Now if this be the cafe 
with thefe Men of Honour, that they dare not fpeak 
their Minds, nor difcover their true Sentiments plain- 
ly to the World ; we mufl by no means conclude 
over-haftily of their Orthodoxy , by what they fay in "«. 
Difcourfe at feme times, or publifh in Print at others t 
but, in fliort, if they fet up fuch a Notion of a God, 
as is eflentially inconfiflent with the Idea that all 
Mankind have of fuch a Being ; if they make him 
either a Neceilary Agent, or a Blind, Idle and Un- 
a&ive One ; if they divefl him of his Providence, 
or cramp him in his Attributes, as thofe that call 
themfelves Deifts generally do : in a word, if they 
make him fuch an Impotent and Carelefs Being, as 
either cannot or will not govern the World, give 
Laws to his People, vindicate his own Honour, and 
punifh and reward Men according to their Actions : 
5 Tis plain, I fay, that though in words they may pro- 
fefs to believe and honour a God, yet in reality they 
deny him, and have no manner of Notion of his true 
Nature and Perfections. But 'tis not the Name only, 
nor the empty Sound of the word Deity, but the Thing, 
that is wanting in the World ; 'tis the true Knowledge 
and Belief of this only, that can clear a Man from the 
imputation of Atheifm : If he be not right in this 
Point, /. e. if he have not fuch a belief of God, as im- 
plies in it a knowledge of the Perfections of his Nature, 
he may call himfelf by as fine and fajhionable Names 
as he pleafes, and pretend to Deifm and Natural Re- 
ligion ; but in reality he is an Atheift, and Co ought r a <\ B/oHnri 
to be eiteemed by all Mankind ; for as one faith, (a) Ammo. Mmdi, 
that knew very well what an Atheift was, Such are L n 0racb > °t 


8 The Atheifl s Obje&ion, &c. Refuted. 

Atheifls, as deny God's Providence ; or who reflram 

it in /owe particulars, and exclude it in reference to 

others, as well as thofe who direclly deny the Ex- 

O) AmpH- i»ftence of a Deity : And Vaninus {b) calls Tully Atheifl, 

tjeatr.?. 124. on ^^ yer y account . anc j - m ano ther place, he faith, 

(c) Pag. 152. ( c ) That to deny a Providerice, is the fame thing as 

to deny a God. 

This therefore being returned in Anfwer to the 
Objection, That there is no fuch thing as an Atheifl : 
Let us now go about to examine and confider the Ar- 
guments and Obje&ions that are ufually brought by 
Atheiftical Men, againfl the Being of a God. And 
thefe, one would think, mould be exceeding weighty 
ones, and no lefs than diretl Demonflrations ; for if 
they are not fuch flrenuous Proofs as are impoffible to 
be refuted, I'm fure the Atheifl ought to pafs for the 
mofl fenfelefs and flupid of all Mankind. He flights 
and deipifes that ineflimable Offer of being Happy for 
ever ; he runs the rifque of being eternally Miserable ; 
he bids open defiance to the Laws of God and Man ; 
and he oppofes his own Opinion and Judgment, to 
the fober and confiderate Sentiments of the judicious 
part of Mankind, in all Ages of the World. Now 
lurely, in fuch a cafe, he ought to be very fure that 
he cannot be miflaken ; and to be as demon flrati vely 
certain, as of the truth of any Theorem in Euclid, 
that there is no God, no Moral Good nor Evil, no 
Revealed Religion, nor any Future State of Rewards 
and Punifhments. But can any Man have the face to 
pretend to this ? Will not the common fenfe of all Man- 
kind pronounce this impofiible ? and that a Demon- 
ilration of the Non-Exiftence of thefe things, is not to 
be obtained ? Can any one be directly allured, that 


The AtheijVs ObjeSfioti) 8cc. Refitted. 

there is not fo much as a Poffihility that thefe things 
ihould be true I And if fo, then 'tis plain , that for 
any thing he can directly prove to the contrary, the 
Atheift may be in the wrong, and confequently be 
Eternally damned and miferable. Now would any 
one, that can think at all, run this Dreadful Hazard ? 
much lefs fure, one that pretends to be a Man or' 
■Penetration and Judgment, and to Philofophize above 
the Vulgar : And yet this every Atheift doth ,• and 
that too on no other Grounds but the Strength of 
fome trifling Objections againft, and feeming Absur- 
dities in, the Notion of a God, and Religion, which 
the Extravagant Wit of wicked Men hath invented 
and coined to flop the Mouths of thole that reprove 
them, to ftifle and bear down the Stings of Con- 
science, and to gain fome pretence to Reafon and 
Principles in their Impious Proceedings. But furely 
thefe Perfons muft know well enough, that 'tis a 
very eafie thing to ftart Objections againft the moll 
plain and obvious Truths ; They know alfo, that in 
other Cafes, themfelves think it very unreaibnable to 
disbelieve the truth of a Tiling , only becaufe they 
can't readily anfwer all the Objections a witty Man 
may bring againft it, and becaufe they cannot Solve 
all the Phenomena of it. Now , why mould not 
they proceed Co in Matters of Religion ? They 
know that all the great Truths of it, have b.een de- 
monftrated over and over, by thofe Learned and Ex- 
cellent Perfons which have written in the Defence of 
it ; Nay, they know too, that moft of their Obje- 
ctions have been already refuted and anfvvered , and 
that they adhere to a Caufe that hath been frequently 
bafHed. They know the weight and importance of 

B the 

i o The Atheijl's ObjeSiion^ &c. Refuted. 

the Subject, and that if Religion fhould at lafl prove 
to be true, they mufl be for ever Miferable : All this, 
I fay, they very well know ; and therefore it looks 
flrangely like an Infatuation upon them , that they 
will run this Dreadful Hazard only on the Strength 
of a few Ohjeftiovs , and a bare fiirmhe only that 
there is no fuch thing as a God or Religion. Thefe 
Ohjeftions are their only Hold and Pretence that 
they can flick to and abide by, and what and how 
Great they are, I fhall now proceed to Examine. 
Thefe I fhall take in their Natural Order : And, 

i. Confider fuch Objections as are brought againfl 
the Being of a God in General. 

2. Such as are alledged againfl his Attributes and 

3 . Such as are advanced againfl the Truth and 
Authority of revealed Religion. The Groundlefs- 
nefs and Inconclufivenefs of all which I fhall endea- 
vour as clearly as I can to Demonflrate. 

And Firfl , I fhall confider and refute the Obje- 
ctions and Arguments that are brought againfl the 
Being of God in General ; and thefe are (as far as 
I can find) all reducible to thefe two Heads. Tt 
is faid, 

i. That we can have no Idea of God. 

2. That the Notion of a Deity owes its Original, 
either to the fooliih Fears of fome Men, or the Crafty 
Def gns of others. 

I fhall at this Time handle the former of thefe, 
and Refute the Objections that are brought againfl 
the Exiflence of a freity, from our not being able 
( as they fay) to have any Idea or Notion of him. 
The Atheifl alledges, That whatfoever is Uncon- 


The Atheifis ObjeSlion, &c. Refuted. 


ceiveable is really nothing at all : that we can have 
no Idea, or poflible Notion of any thing that is not 
fome how or other an Object of our Senfes ; for 
all Knowledge is Senfe : and we can only judge of the 
Exigence of things by its Evidence and Teftimony. 
Now God is by Divines faid to be Ivcomprehenfible, 
Infinite, and Invifible ; /. e . Something that 'tis im- 
poflible to know any thing about ; that is every LevUtka^ 
where, and yet no where ; that fees every thing, P- 2o9 « 
and yet no body can fee him ; nor can we perceive 
any thing of him by any other of our Senfes : We 
cannot tell what to make of fuch an Account as this 
of a God ; we can have no Phantafm, Idea or Con- 
ception of any fuch Thing ; and therefore we juftly 
conclude, There is no fuch Being in Nature. And as 
for that precarious Notion of a God, that is fo much 
talk'd of in the World, 'tis nothing but a meer Than- 
tome or Mormo devifed and fet up by Politick 
and DeMgning Men to keep the Rabble in awe, and 
to fcare fuch Fools as are afraid of their own Sha- 
dows. The feveral Points of this Objection, I fhal! 
fingly confider; and, 

As to the Firft Part of it, That what we cannot 
attain any Idea of; or, That what is ahfolutely Vticon- 
ceiveable, is really nothing at all ; perhaps it may be 
true, taking it in the mofl flrift and proper fence 
of the words ; for though I am not of Protagoras's 
Mind, that Man is ynxA-^v y^uuh'jcv fjJti^jv' yet as 
I think, that That which is ahfolutely Unconceivable 
hi its own Nature y is not poflible to be Exiftent; fo 
ivl.\it is ahfolutely fo to us , we can know nothing at 
all of, nor reafon, nor argue about it ; fince there is 
no doing cf tills but from our Ideas. But I cannot 

B z fee 

1 1 The Atheiflrs ObjeSion^ Scq. Refuted. 

fee how this will be advantageous at all to the Caufe 
of Infidelity : For there is neither any one that aflerts, 
nor is the Atheift able to prove , that That Being 
which we call God , is abfolutely Unconceiveable. 
There is a vail difference between a thing's being Vn~ 
conceivable, and Incomprehenftble ; between our having 
no Idea at all of a thing, and our having an Imper- 
fect one ; and between our knowing Nothing at all of 
a Being, and our comprehending all the PoJJible Per- 
fections and Excellencies of fuch a Being. We readily 
grant that the Immenfe Nature of God is incompre- 
henfible to our finite Underftandings ; but we don't 
lay 'tis abfolutely Unconceivable , and that we can 
know nothing at all about it. The common No- 
(c^) sextuf Em- tlon (c) which all Mankind have of a God, is a 
g^f foment Refutation of this Part of the Objedion , 
aoivi) hvouu a as & IS a ^ a verv good Proof of the real Exiftence 
common No- f a Deity ; for if there were no fuch Being, 'tis frn- 
a°God cveif poftible to conceive how any Idea of him could ever 
when he dif. have come into anv one's Mind, as I mall hereafter 
pures againft largely prove. 

Math, p.333. 2. There is implied in this Objection, That we can 
have no poffible Idea , nor Notion of the Exiftence of 
any thing that is not the Objecl of our Senfes : And 
from hence thefe Sublime Thinkers argue againft the 
Exiftence of a Deity, and conclude there is no God, 
becaufe they cannot fie him , and becaufe he is not 
perceivable by any of our Bodily Senfes. Thus one 
of our Modern Atheiftical Writers aflerts, That the 
only Evidence we can have of the Exiftence of any thing, 
(a) Hob's Le- is from Senfe. And in another place, (a) Whatfoever 
%'wh.^. 11, lve ccm conce 'i- V Q (faith he) hath been perceived fir ft by 
Senfe ^ either at once or in Parts, and a Man can have 

The Atheifts ObjeSHon^ &c. Refuted. 1 3 

no Thought reprefenting any thing notfubjett to Senfe. And 
he defines Senfe to be Original Knowledge. Which is but 
the Reverfe of what Protagoras, long ago determined : 
for Plato, in his Theaztetus, telis us, That he defined all 
Knowledge to be Senfe. Now, is not this admirable 
Philofophy ? and worthy of thofe that pretend to a 
fublimer pitch of Knowledge than the Vulgar ? There 
is no Knowledge, fay they, but Senfe. If fo, then, as 
Protagoras faith, all Senfe mufi be Knowledge ; and 
confequently, he that ikes, hears, fmells or feels 
any thing, mud immediately know ail that is to 
be known about it : By feeing the Letters of any 
Language, or hearing the Words pronounced, a Man 
or a Bead mud needs understand all the Senfe 
and Meaning of it ; and the Philofophick Nature 
of all Bodies will be perfectly comprehended,as foon as 
ever they once come within the reach of our Senfes. 
This is, indeed, a good eafie method of attaining 
Learning ; and perhaps very fuitable to the Genius 
of thefe Gentlemen ! But I cannot account from this 
Notion, how they come to have fo much more Pe- 
netration and Knowledge than their Neighbours. Are 
their Eyes and Ears, Nofes and Feeling, fo much 
more accurate than thofe of the Vulgar ? Yes, doubt- 
le(s, thefe are truly Men of Senfe I their Lyncean Eyes 
can penetrate Mill-flones, and the lead filent whifper 
of Nature moves the Intelligent Drum of their tender 
Ears; nothing. efca pes their Knowledge, but what is 
undifcoverable by the niced Senfe, and can only be 
comprehended by lieafon. Reafon ! an Ignis Fatuus 
of the Mind, whofe uncertain Direction, they fcornto 
follow, while this Light of Nature, Senfe, can be . 
their Guide. Nor will it avail them to a Hedge here, 


r ^1 

- % 
■ % 

1 4 The Atheift's ObjeBiotJj &c. Refuted. 

that when they fay, we have no Knowledge but what 
we have from our Senfes ,• they mean only, that all 
our Knowledge comes in that way, and not by Innate 
Ideas : for the Author I have mentioned above, is 
exprefs, that we can have no thought of any thing not 
fuhjettto Senfe ; that the only Knowledge we have of the 
Exiftence of all things, is from Senfe ; and that Senfe is 
Original Knowledge. And if fo, there can be no luch 
thing as comparing or diftinguifhing of Idea's in our 
Mind ; but the fimple Ideas of Senfible Obje&s be- 
ing imprefled upon our Brain, mufl: needs convey to 
us, by that means, all the Knowledge that we can 
ever obtain about them, and that as loon too as ever 
the Obje&s are perceived. But than this, nothing 
can be more falfe and abfurd : for 'tis plain, that by 
our bare Senfations of Objects, we know nothing at 
all of their Natures. Our Mind, indeed, by thefe 
Senfations, is vigoroufly excited to enquire further 
about them : but this we could by no means do, if 
Senfe were the higheft Faculty and Power in our Na- 
tures, and we were quite devoid of a Reafoning and 
Thinking Mind. This, Democritus of old was very 
, .* well aware of, ( however he comes now to be deferted 
$2$5£'by the Modern Atheiftick Writers,) for faith he, 
* (i*v ynon, (a) There is in us two kinds of Knowledges ; one Dark and 
« ;5 «"^ 7 J M ^* Ohfcure, which is hy the Senfes ; the ether Genuine and 
piric. zfa.Mx- Proper, which is hy the Mind. 

them.?. 164. ^ nc j nothing can be more plain, than that we have 

certain Knowledge of the Exiftence of many things, 

which never were, nor perhaps can pofhbly be the 

Objeds of our Bodily Senfes. Protagoras himfelf faith, 

''b^Sexts Emf. (£) v A0pi TCtgjuntVTr&v fj^ra; i§! dpvfrrcrt hrcat&n sla) 3 


The Atheifis ObjeStion, Sec. Refuted. 1 5 

raJiv X}Z5w ^/Se^, 7raj> to aog£,7ov xx dirock^ojuivcLf, 
u$ iv Ha'iQLq fjuipM : Take heed that none of the Uninitiated 
hear you, who are fuch as think nothing to Exi/l, but 
what they can lay hold of with their Hands ; and who 
will not allow any thing that is Invifible, to have a place 
among Beings. 

The Epicurean Atheift mud needs grant the Ex- 
iftence of his Atoms, and his Empty Space ; when yet 
they mud be both acknowledged to be no way fenfible. 
Thofe that hold a Soul or Life in Matter, Piaftically 
difrufed through all Parts of the Univerie, by which 
all things are actuated and regulated, cannot deny 
but this Power is Invifible, and no way the Object 
of Bodily Senfe. Nay, thole that aflert a Corporeal 
Deity, and (ay, that nothing can poffibly exifl but 
Body ; muft needs own, that fomething of this Deity, 
as his Wifdom y Power and Under/landing, which is 
certainly the Chief and moil Noble of all his Etfence, 
can no ways fall under our Bodily Senfes. Let him 
that aflerts, That what is not the Objecl: of Senfe, is 
really nothing at all ; let him tell me, if he ever faw 
that Power, Faculty, Under/landing or Mind, by which 
he is enabled to make fuch a Determination ? That 
there is fuch a Power or Mind in him, 'tis impoiTible 
for him to doubt or deny : for that very doubting 
and denying, will refute him ; and mull: convince him, 
that there muft be fomething in him of a Real Nature, 
that can thus Think and Confider, Doubt and Deny ; 
and at laft conclude, That there is nothing Atlua/Iy 
Exiftent, but what is Senjjble : For what is really and 
abfolutely Nothing, can never Think, Confider, Doubt 
or Determine. 

Now let him call this Mind or Soul of his what 


1 6 The AtheijVs Objection, &tc. Refuted. 

he pleafes , I do not here confider its Nature ; 
Jet it be a Subftance diftind from Matter, be it 
a happy Combination of Animal Spirits ; or the brisk 
Agitation of any fine and fubtile Parts of Matter, 
'tis all one to our prefent purpofe, it certainly Exifts, 
or is ; and yet is it by no means an Object of Senfe. 
For Animal Spirits, Motion, and the fined and fub- 
tileft Parts of Matter are no more fenfible to us now, 
than an Incorporeal Subftance is. And as he is thus Xm 
allured that there is fomething real in himfelf, which 
yet is the Object of none of his Senfes ; (6 he can- 
not but conclude the fame, of other Men that are 
round about him, that they alfo have a Soul or Mind 
of the fame Nature : for he mud know and be fatis- 
fied, that they can think, reafon, douht, affirm, deny 
and determine, as well as himfelf. Now, if he mufl 
grant that there are on this Account many things 
exiftent in the World, which do no way fall under 
the cognifance of our Senfes, it will be ftrangely fenfe- 
leis and ridiculous to argue againft the Being of a 
God from His not being fo ; and to deny that there is 
anyfuch thing, becaufe he cannot fee Him with his Bo- 
dily Eyes, becaufe he cannot feel Him with his Hands, 
and hear the Sound of his Voice actually fpeaking 
from Heaven. For the Exiftehce of that Divine Be- 
ing whom no Eye hath feen nor can fee, is as plainly 
(jemonftrable from Reafon anfl Nature, from his vi- 
able Works in the World, and from the inward Sen- 
timents of our unprejudiced Minds, as the Being of 
our Own and Others Minds is from the power of 
thinking and reafoning that w 7 e find in our felves 
and them. 

3. But 

The AtheifFs Obje&ion, Sec. Refuted. 1 7 

3. But Thirdly, 'tis obje&ed further, 0) That we(*) ^M\u- 
cannot have any Idea of God, and confequently may VM:an »?'t 1 ' 
conclude, There luch Being • becaufe he is, by 
Divines, faid to be Incomprehensible and Infinite : 
(That is, fay they) fomething which we can know 
nothing at all about ; for we cannot have any Phan- 
tafm or Conception of any fuch thing. Thus faith that 
famous Atheiltical Writer, Whatever we know , we learn 
frcm ourPhantafms-,but there is noPhantafm ^/Infinite, 
and therefore no Knowledge or Concept «.-*., 

tion of it. No Man, {atfh he, can have in TO ^ ^i^ *^. 
/?/.$' w/tf*/ <?# Image of Infinite Power or vfo '<& yv£<nv dA^vhrj aw , 
Time : And there is no Conception or ffo J &*& fc -£££ 
/rf^z of that which we c^// Infinite. In aflerts, thac \Aw«p<w «k l$w 
another place, he aflerts, (c) Tte ftfa e?c/Wf. 
Attributes of God fignifie Nothing true C0 Leviatb ' p * T '■ Ipc ' 
nor falfe, nor any Opinion of our Brain ; and are not 
fufficient Premifes to inferr Truth, or convince Falfhood. 
And the Name of~Gitl ( he faith ) is ufed, not to 
rnake us Conceive him, but that we may Honour him. 
And he elfewhere faith, (d) That thofe that ven- (0 Levutk. 
ture to difc our f e Philofophic ally of the Nature of God, ViT '™' c '* 6 ' 
cr to reafon of his Nature from his Attributes, lofing 
their Underfianding in the very firfl attempt, fall 
from one Inconvenience to another, without end or num- 
ber, and do only difcover their Aflonifkment and Rufti- 
city. This Bold Writer doth in another place tell 
us, (e) That God muft not be faid to be Finite ; and (O^g- ifo. 
ib being neither Finite nor Infinite, he muft be no. 
thing at all :. Which is the very fame Dilemma tiiat 
the Sceptick, Sextus Empiricus, (f) makes ufe of a- (/) Adv. Ma- 
gainil a Deity. Another Modern Author of the fame tbem -v- J33- 
ftamp; tells us, That he that calls any thing Infinite^ 

C doth 

1 8 The Atbeijl's Qbje&ion^ &c. Refuted. 

doth but, Rei quam non capit attribuere nomen quod 
non Intelligit ; " Give an unintelligible Name to a 
" thing which he doth not underftand." All which 
agrees exactly with what Sextus alio faith, in many 
places of his Book ; and whom thefe Gentiemen fol- 
low pretty clofely in moll things, without taking 
any notice at all of him. 

Now to this, I return ; That as 'tis very foolifh 
and precarious, to deny the Exiftence of a God, be- 
caufe He is not an Object of our Bodily Senfes ; fo, 
to conclude, that there is no fuch Being, from our 
not being able perfectly to comprehend Him, and to 
have a true and adequate Idea of him, is equally ab- 
iiird and unaccountable. For at this rate, we may 
(bon come to deny the Exiftence of moft things in 
Nature, fince there are very many of which we do 
not adequately comprehend the Nature of, and know 
all that is to be known about them. There is <zkx- 
T<z,/\vmlQv 77, fomething Incornprehenfible in the Nature 
of all things. Are there not a thoufand Beings, 
which we are fure are truly and actually exiilent in 
Nature,t he manner of whofe Operation and Action we 
cannot comprehend, and whole Thaznomena we can- 
not Philofophically explain ? Let any of thefe Pene- 
trating Gentlemen try their Skill at Gravity, Light y 
Sound, Magnetifm and Electricity , and oblige the 
World with fuch an adequate Account of any one of 
them, as fhall make all impartial and curious Men 
acquiefce in it as latisfactory. Let him clearly mew 
us how his own Senfations are made ; how the Circu- 
lation of the Blood fir ft begins, and continues its Vital 
Tour round his Body ; how Peftilential and Conta- 
gious Diieafes firfl invade and are propagated ; how 


The Atheijl's Objection, Sec. Refuted. \ p 

feveral Medicines, that may be properly enough 
calfd Specifiers, operate ; and particularly, how the 
Cortex Peruvianas cures an Intermitting Fever : In a 
word, let him tell us how his own Body (fettingafider 
Accidents) decays, grows old, and dies, when the 
fame Digeflions and Ajftmulations are made to Day, as 
were Yefterday, and there is no apparent defect in 
die Nutriment of any one part of it. He that can 
account for thefe, and many other iuch kke things, 
which are obvious to every ones daily Observation, 
will certainly approve himielf to be a Man of very 
curious and acute Thought, and of very deep InHghe 
into Nature : and when he hath fully convinced me, 
that he throughly comprehends the Nature of but thefe 
few things, \ will allow that he hath fome ground to 
disbelieve the Exigence of whatever appears to him 
Incomprehenfible. But if a Perfon will candidly own, 
as he that hath any Knowledge and Modefiy muff, do, 
That there are many things in the Hiftory of Nature, 
of which he cannot meet with a fatisfaclory Solu- 
tion and Explication ; he hath certainly no manner 
of reafon to disbelieve the Eaiftence of a God, on 
the fame account ,♦ and to fay, There is no fuch. 
Thing, becaufe his Nature is Incomprehenfible to 
our finite and imperfect Capacities. We cannot, fa 
fearching, find out God, nor difcover the Almighty unto 
perfection, Job xi. 7. 

But again ; There is a vafl difference between Ap- 
prehending and Comprehending of a thing; between 
knowing a thing really to be, and knowing all that 
is poflible to be known about that thing. We can- 
not indeed perfectly comprehend the Nature of God, 
becaufe we have fhailow, limited, finite and imper- 

C 2, feet 

20 The AtbeiJVi Objection, Sec. Refuted. 

feci: Capacities and Faculties ; and the Deity contains 
in himfelf all poflible Perfection. Every one muff] 
grant, that 'tis impoffible the leffer fhould contain 
and comprehend the greater, efpecially too when the 
Extent and Fulnefs of one, Infinitely exceeds the 
Capacity of the other. From hence therefore to in- 
fer r that we can have no Idea nor Knowledge at all 
of God , is very abfurd and incongruous. 'Tis a 
ft range Method of Arguing, that I can know nothing 
at all of a thing, becaufe I can't know every parti- 
cular that belongs to it ; and he would defervedly be 
efteemed a Madman, that ihould deny that there is 
any fuch thing as the Sun , becaufe he cannot tell 
how many Miles he is in Diameter, how far he is 
from us, and which way he comes by a fupply of 
Matter to continue his enlivening Fire and Heat. 
When fome great and advantageous Revolution is 
brought about in any Nation; when the Publick 
Good is fecured, the Laws and Liberties preferved, 
and Confufion, Bloodmed, and Mifery of all Kinds, 
prevented, by the wife and deep Council and Con- 
duel; of Him,orThofe that are at the Helm of Affairs : 
Would it not be grofs Stupidity, for a Man to aflert, 
That all this came about by Chance, and that there 
was no Wifdom nor Conduct, that fb opportunely 
managed all things; only becaufe he cannot pene- 
trate into all the fecret Steps and Methods of it, and 
fee all the hidden Springs, by which it was moved 
regularly on to its intended Perfection ? There are 
many things whofe Exigence 'twould be ridiculous to 
doubt of, whofe Nature and Qualities we are very far 
from being able perfectly to Comprehend and Ex- 
plain. And amongft the reft, there is nothing but 


The Atheift's ObjeSlion^ Sec. Refuted. 

2 I 

our own Exiflence, that we can be more aflured of, 
than that there is a God. For as to all Objects of 
Senfe, we may, as Monfieur Des Cartes mews, have 
fome reafon to doubc of their actual Exiflence with? 
out us, till we are firfl fatisfied that our Senfes do 
not deceive us : Till we know this, for any thing we 
can demonflratively prove to the contrary, all lenfi- 
ble Objects may be meer Phantafmsand Delufions,and 
nothing but the internal Configurations of our own 
Brains, and the refult of Imagination and Fancy. But 
when once we are aflured that there is a God, who 
is perfectly Knowing, Wife, and Good, we mall dis- 
cover that He can be no Deceiver ,• we {hall find that 
'tis not fuitable to the Idea we have of Kim, that He 
mould delude ^and cheat us with falfe Appearances ; 
and confequently we may well conclude, that he hath 
appointed our Senfes to be proper Judges of their 
own Objects, and that thofe Things are actually 
exifling without us, whofe Idea's we fo plainly per* 
ceive in our felves, and which we truly judge to be fa-. 
And if we will impartially coniuk our own 
Thoughts, and reafon clearly from thofe Idea's that 
we have within us ; I think, we may moft demon- 
flratively be aflured of the Exiflence of a God, and 
that He is fuch a moft Perfect or Infinite Being, as 
the Sacred Scriptures and Divines defcribe Him to 
be. I will allow that the greatefl Certainty that 
we can have of the Exiflence of any thing, is of 
^ur own Being ; of which, as I have already (aid, 
no one can poflibly doubt : for whatfoever can Think 
reafon, doubt, ivi/l y and determine ,; rnuft needs be 
Something, and have a true and real Being. And be- 
caufe we find by this means, that these is certainly 

fome thing 

2 2 The AtbeiJVs Obje&ion, Sec. Refuted. 

fomething actually exifiing ; it will plainly follow, that 
fomething or other mull always have been fo : 
for if ever there was a time when there was No- 
thing , there never could have been any thing at 
all : for abfblute Nothing could never have done, or 
produced any thing. Something therefore ('tis plain) 
mud have been always , or eternally exifiing , and 
which never could have had any beginning. For if 
it ever had any beginning , tho' never fo many 
Thouiands of Millions of Ages ago, it mud have 
then began from meer Nothing, which 'tis impoflible 
for any Man to conceive. Now, if we confider our 
Mves, or any things elfe that are round about us in 
the world ; we mall plainly find, that neither we nor 
they, can be this thing that always was exiftent, and 
which we have difcovered mull have been without 
beginning ; for we know well enough, that it was 
but a little while ago when we began to be, and 
that 'tis but a fhort fpace before we fhall die, and 
ceafe to be in this World any more. Befides, we 
find in our felves, and difcover in things without us, 
fuch Defe£ts, Limitations and Imperfections, as fufH- 
ciently muft convince us, that neither we nor they 
can be Independent Beings , nor indeed the Caufe of 
one another's Exiftence. We muff therefore in our 
Thoughts haverecourfe to fome firfi Caufe or Origin, 
from whence all things do proceed : And that there 
mud be fome firfi Caufe, or fome Being, which pro- 
duced both our felves and the things that are roun^ 
about us in the World, we cannot bur be allured or, 
for we know, nothing can caufe, or make it felf to 
he ; and we fee that we cannot make or produce each 
• r; and we perceive that none of our Forms or 


The Atbeift's ObjeSion, fee. Refuted. 

Modes of Exigence are Indeflru&ible and Eternal,- 
but that all things are continually flitting and chang- 
ing : fome improving and increafing, while others 
are decreafing and dying. The common Matter, in- 
deed, of all Bodies will remain, and we do not find 
it to be periihable, as their forms are; But then, 
this we may eafily know cannot be the nYit Cauie of 
all other Things ,• fince we have no Idea of its being 
an Attive, Iritel/igeat, Wife, and Powerful Btiwg, as 
that mufl be ; but the Notion we have of it is, chat 
it is uM, iz-Zc, gyyarL, purely Pa five , and obfeyuioulh 
Capable of all variety of Forms and Motions • as I ill all 
liereafter more largely mew. If we farther carefully 
confider of this Being, that we have thus found mull: 
have eternally been or exifted • we iball find alio, 
that it mud for ever continue to be for the time to 
come ; for we cannot imagine , how a Being that 
hath Eternally exifted for the time pail, fliould ever 
terminate or ceafe to be for the time to come ; fince 
there is nothing in itsfelf, or in any thing without it, 
that can poiiibly be the Caufe of its Destruction- 
Such a Being therefore will be properly Eternal, and 
noceflarily Self-exiftent, without Beginning or End, 
or any Poflibility of Dying or Ceafing to be. Such 
a Being alio, mud on this Account, be the Creator, 
Author, and Caufe of all things: becaufe, nothing 
can be the Caufe of it Mf; and therefore they muil 
either be Eternal and Neceflariiy Selfexident, as we 
^ re allured they are not; or elie derived from, and 
produced by this Eternal and Infinite Being. And as 
the Beings themfelves are derived fiom, and pro- 
duced by this Eternal and Self exi fie nt Being, fo 
fluid ail their Perfeflioas and Qg* >vstoo: for 


z 4 The Atheijl's Obje&ion^ Sec Refuted. 

they are indeed the mod Noble Things in their Na- 
tures. Knowledge therefore , and Wifdom , Thought 
and Reafoning, and all the excellent Powers and Fa- 
culties that are found in any Creatures, muft come 
from the fame Power that produced thofe Beings 
and Natures in which they are inherent. And if 
thefe Excellencies and Perfections are derived from 
this Neceftarily exiftent Being, they mud certainly 
be in Him in the greateft Perfection : for if they 
were not in Him, they could not be derived from 
him ; fince 'tis unconceivable that any thing can 
give or communicate to another , either what it 
hath not it felf, or a greater degree of any thing 
than it is Matter of. This Eternal and Self-exiftent 
Being therefore muft have in it, and that in the ut- 
moft Perfection, all the Excellencies that we admire 
and value in any other things. It muft have the 
Power of doing all things that are poffible to be 
done, and therefore be Almighty ; it muft know all 
things that are poflible to be known, and therefore 
be Omnifcient : In a word, it muft be All-Wife and 
Good, Juft and True, Merciful and Gracious, and con- 
tain in it all poffible Excellencies and Perfections. 
Now this may very well pafs for a Defcription of 
the Deity ; and 'tis fuch an One as is very Intelli- 
gible and Plain to the meaneft Capacity that can but 
think at all. And it gives us fuch an Idea of God^ 
as we fee is eafily attainable by an obvious and fa^ 
miliar Chain of Confequences, and which puts our 
Minds not at all on the wrack to conceive. As for the 
word Infinite, which is often applied to God, and 
which thefe Gentlemen quarrel lb much at, and of 
■which they affirm, that it is impojfille to have any 


The Atheists Obje&ion^ Sec. Refuted. 2 5 

Conception or Idea ; I lay, that it is ground lefsly and 
precarioufly aflertod : and that nothing but the wil- 
ful Darknefs and Confufion which they have brought 
upon their own Minds can make it appear Unintel- 
ligible. For as the Excellent Dr. Cudworth hath 
proved the Idea that we have of Infinite , is the 
lame with that which we have of Perfection. And 
therefore when we fay, that God is Infinite in Power, 
Wifdom or Gopdnefc, we mean by it, that He is moft 
perfectly or compleatly Co ; and that he wants no- 
thing which is neceflary to render Him moft Per- 
fect, and Excellent in that Refpecl: of which we 
fpeak of Him. Now a Being that any way is De- 
ficient or Imperfect, and that hath not all the po£ 
fible Excellencies that are to be had, is Finite, and 
that in the fame proportion as it is defective. Thus, 
for Inflance, thofe Beings which endure but for a 
time, which had a Beginning, and will have an 
end, are finite or imperfect, as to their exiftence : 
But G o d, who is, was y and is to come, who is and 
will be from Everlafting to Everlafting, 

He is properly faid to be Infinite (a) or ( a \ r \ % d ^° v ft'"™. 
Perfetl, as to Exiftence or Duration. t^%^f v ^} P h \£. 
For there is no Reftriclion, Limitation ***• &*&* adv. Math, pa$; 
or Imperfection in His Nature, in this I5 °* 
refpecl:, as there is in that of all Creatures what> 
ever. A Being whofe Power extends to but a few- 
things, is very imperfect or finite in Power ,- and if 
there be any PofTible thing that it cannot do, 'tis flill 
fo far imperfect in Power. But a Being that can do 
all things that are not contradictory to his Nature, 
or all poliible things, is properly faid to be Infinite or 
Perfect in Power, or Almighty « fo a Being that knows 

D all 

26 The Atheijl's Obje&ion ,&c. Refuted. 

all things poffible to be known, is Infinite or Perfect 
in Knowledge : and the like of any other Attributes 
or Perfections : In all, the Companion or Proportion 
is the fame. A Being that wants no degree of Ex- 
cellency or Perfection is God ; Infinite in Power, 
Wiflom, Juftice, Goodnefs and Truth. But if a Being 
want any one, or any degree or proportion of Thefe 
Things, it is Finite and Imperfect, and that in the 
lame degree or Proportion. Now, where is the In- 
conceivahlenefs, Confufion, Abfurdity, and Nonfence of 
all This ? is it not as eafie to conceive or apprehend 
that a Being may have in his Nature all poffible Per- 
fection, as it is to have an Idea of one that is Im- 
perfect and Deficient ? for how comes the Idea of 
Imperfection into our Mind I how come we to know 
that a Thing is Finite, Defective and Limited, unlefs 
we have alfo an Idea or Notion of Infinity or Perfe- 
ction ? how can we know what is wanting in any 
Being, unlefs we have an Idea of it, that it is in 
fome other Being ? Molt certain therefore it is, that 
we may have as true and clear an Idea of the Exi- 
(b) vu. Hence of a God, as of any thing in Nature : (b) 

l ^' L f% s n fcr anc * * n ^ a( ^ k 1S mo ^ notonou ^y true > taat a c l ear 
SJin^.p.iv. and diltinct Notion that there is fuch a Being, hath 

ch. x. and doth ftill appear in the Minds of all Mankind ; 

and it is impreflcd there, I doubt not, by the pecu- 
liar Care of that Divine and Merciful Being Him- 

And therefore thofe that aflert, that we have not, 
nor can have any Notion or Idea of a God , nor of 
his Attributes and Perfections, and that on that Ac- 
count deny his Exiftence ; difcover fuch wretched 
Ignorance as well as ObfUnacy, that they are really a 


The Atheijl's Objefiion, &c. Refuted, 2 7 

Difgrace to Humane Nature. For pretending to be 
over-Wife, they lecome Fools, they are vain in their 
Imaginations, and their foolifh heart is darkened-, Their 
vicious Inclinations have debauched their Reafon and 
Underftanding : And though God he not far from every 
one of us, fince in Him we live, move, and have our 
being ; yet their Wickednefs and Pride is fuch, That 
they will not fee k after God, neither is God in all their 
Hioughts. From which wilful Blindnefs and Stupi- 
dity, may the God of Truth deliver them, by the 
gracious Illuminations of his BlelTed Spirit ; To whom, 
with our Lord and Saviour Jefus Chriii, be all Ho- 
nour and Glory, &c. 


Books printed for Rich. Wilkin at the King's* 
Head in St. PaulV Church-yard. 

*\ TR. Harris's Sermon, Preach'd at the Cathedral- 
J\'JL Church of St. Paul, January the 3d. 1 69 \. be- 
ing the Firfl of the Lefture for that Year, Founded 
by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efquire. 

« His Remarks on fome late Papers relating to 

the Univerfal Deluge, and to the Natural Hiftory of 
the Earth. In Oclavo. 

Dr. Woodward's Natural Hiftory of the Earth, in 

Dr. Abbadies Vindication of the Truth of the 
Chriftian Religion , againft the Objections of all 
Modern Oppofers ; in Two Volumes. In Oclavo. 

A Serious Propofal to the Ladies, for the Advance- 
ment of their true and greatefl Intereft ; Part I. By a 
Lover of her Sex. The Third Edition. In Twelves. 

A Serious Propofal to the Ladies ; Part II. Wherein 
a Method is offer'd for the Improvement of their 
Minds. In Twelves. 

Letters concerning the Love of God, between the 
Author of the Propofal to the Ladies and Mr. John 
Norrzs. In Oclavo. 

An Anfwer to W. P. his Key. about the Quakers 
Light within, and Oaths ; with an Appendix of the 
Sacraments. In Oclavo. 

A Letter to the Honourable Sir Robert Howard : 
Together with fome Animadverfions on a Book, 
entituled, Chrijlianity not Myfterious. In Oclavo. 

The Notion of a GOD, 

Neither from 



Preach'd at the 

Cathedral-Ghurch of St* Paul, 
March the 7 th * i6$\. 


The Third of the L e c r u r e for that Year, 

Founded by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efq; 


and Fellow of the Royal-Society. 


Printed by J. L. for Richard Within, at the 

KJng%-Htad in St. Paul's Church-Tardy 1698. 


PSALM x. 4. 

The Wicked^ through the Pride of his Conn- 
tenance, wiO not feeJ^ after God : neither 
is God in all his Thoughts, 

IN my laft Difcourfe on thefe words, I came to 
confider the Third Particular I had before ob- 
ferved in them ; which was, The great Charge 
the Pfalmift brings againft the Wicked and Proud 
Perfon here fpoken of, viz. Wilful Atheifm and Infi- 
delity. He void not fee k after God : and all his thoughts 
are , There is no God. ~ Under which I propofed to 
Confider and Refute the Atheift's Objections, againft 
the Being of a God in general.- And thefe I tound 
might be reduced to thefe Two Heads : 

L That we can have no Idea of God. 

II. That the Notion of Him, which is about in 
the World, owes its Original to the foolifli 
Fears and Ignorance of fome Men, and to the 
crafty Defigns of others. 

The former of thefe I have already refuted, and 
mewed that it is Groundleis and Precarious in all 
its Parts. 

I fhall now therefore confider the Second Obje- 
ction againft the Being of a God in general, viz. 
That the-Notion of a Deity, which is ib generally 
found among Mankind, owes its Original to the 

A z foolifh 

The Notion of a Go d, 

foolifh Fears and Ignorance of fome Men, and to the 
designing and crafty Figments of others. 

And here I fhall firft give you the Senfeof thele 
kind of Writers on this Point : And then endeavour 
to lliew you, Tiow very weak and trivial their Ar- 
guments are, and how very far fliort they come of 
Difproving the Exiftence of a Deity. 

And firft I mail give you the full fenfe of this Ob- 
jection, from the words of thofe that bring it ; be- 
ginning with the Modern Writers, who, as you will 
find by and by, have little or nothing new, but like 
Carriers Horfes, follow one another in a Track, and 
becaufe the fir jl went wrong, all the refl will fucceedhim 
in the fame Err our ; not confidering, that he who comes 
behind, may take an advantage to avoid that Tit, which 
(a) Blount's thofe that went before, are fallen into, (as it is in the 
Life oUpoi- words f the Tranflator of (a) Philq/iratus.) 
o». p. 19. But k ere - lt mu ft , De premifed, That fince thefe 

kind of Men do frequently difguhe their true mean- 
ing ; It is not the bare Words only, but the Scope of a 
Writer, that giveth the true Light by which any Wri- 
(0 uv'uxh ting is to be interpreted, ( as Mr. Hobbs (Jj) very well 
P-338. obferves:) yet this mud befaid for both him and 
the other Modern Atheiftick Writers, That their Dif- 
guife is fo very thin and fuperficial, that any one 
may eafily fee through it, and difcover their true 
Meaning and Defign. Nothing can be clearer, than 
that 'tis the great (cope of the Author of Great is 
Diana of the Ephefians, to perfuade the World, That 
the firft Originalof all Religion, was from Craft and 
Impofture, and that it was cultivated and carried on 
by the Cunning and Avarice of the Priefts. And in 
his Anima Mundi, pag. 13, 14. he tells us, That 


neither from Fear nor Policy. 5 

Superftition ( by which thefe kind of Writers always 
mean Religion in general) did certainly proceed from fome 
Crafty and Defigning Perfon, who obferved what were 
the Inclinations or Mankind, and Co adapted his Fi- 
ctions accordingly : He pretended to have fome ex- 
traordinary way revealed to him, from an Invifihle 
Power, wherehy he was ahle to inftrucl the People ; and 
to put them into a way of being happy in a Future 
State. And in another place, he iaith, (a) That (<0 Life of 
Mankind being ill-natured, and unapt to oblige ethers ^^"•P* 3— 
without Reward, as alfo judging of God Almighty by 
themfelves, did at firfl conceive the Gods to be like their 
Eaftern Princes, before whom no Man might come empty- 
handed ; and thus came the Original of Sacrifices : And 
this Inftitution, he faith, was improved by the crafty 
Sacerdotal Order, into all that coftly and extrava- 
gant Superftition that did afterwards fo abound in 
the World. Now in this paflage, 'tis plain, that he 
makes all the Jewilh Religion to be nothing but 
Priefl-craft and Impofture ; tho' on wretched poor 
grounds, as I fhall hereafter fufliciently make appear. 
And his Opinion of the Chriftian Religion, may 
eafily be guelTed, by what he delivers, Anim. Mund. 
pag. 1 24. viz. That moft'Chriftian Churches, like the 
Musk-melon from the Dunghill, were raifed from the 
filthy Corruption and Superftition ofPaganifm. And in 
another place, he faith, (b) That he will engage to W Oracks of 
make appear, That a Temporal Intereft was the great Kea f on & l $ 2 > 
Machine on which all Humane Ac! ions ever moved ; 
( he means, in the Eftabliihing of the Jewiih and Chri- 
ftian Religions ; ) and that the common Pretence of 
Piety and Religion, was but like Grace before a Meal : 
I e. according to him, nothing but a meer cuftomary 


The Notion of a God, 

piece of Folly that fignifies nothing at all, and which 
CO Bhur,ri he frequently ridicules and expofes (c). 
fadwhS^ Now ajl this > though not in plain and exprefs 
and p. a 4. ' words, yet in the moil obvious fenfe and meaning, 
is equally applicable to the Notion of a God ; and 
no doubt was fo intended by the Author. And, in- 
deed, take away Religion and the Notion of a God 
mult of courfe follow : For 'tis irnpofTible to think 
that if there be a God, he fliould not expect Vene- 
ration and Worfhip from thofe Creatures of his, that 
he hath rendred capable of doing it ; which there- 
fore is their reafonable Service, Rom. 12. 1. 
( rt ) Caufa, a After the lame manner doth Spinoza declare him- 

oHcur P con£ felf as to the ° ri g in of Religion ,• which he alio 
vatur '& fove- calls by the Name of Superftition. (a) He tells us, 
tur, metus eft. Xhat the true Caufe from whence Superftition took its 
T pditAnPr£f. rife > * s P re f err ved and maintained , is 

CO Si Homines res omnes Fear - (t) ^at if all things would but 
fuas certo confilio regere pof- fucceed according to Mens Minds, they 

EgbgSXlSSZ ->^r er r h , eKjIa " jeJ * ****** ■■ 

tenerentur.-fedquoniameofapc But becauje they are often in great 
anguftiarumredigunmr ucconfi- freights, and fo put to it, that no Qoun- 

inTrf™mSct a umqrmi2refliJ- f el or Hel P will be beneficial to them, 

tfuant, ideo animum ut pluri- they are tojfe-d and bandied about be- 

xnum, ad quidvis credendum t € Hope J p e and at I aft have 

proniftir.umhabent. IbicL , . ■». - . , ... > . -;* 

(0 Ea omnia qua Homines their Mind Jo debilitated, that they are 

unquani vana Religione colue- p rm€ to believe any thin?, (c) But that 
runr, nihil prserer Phantafmata, ■*. ,. n ,, -y , 7 P , . , , 

amrniq-, criftis & timidi fuifle « reality all thofe things which have 
deliria. lbiJ. been the Objetls of Mens vain Religious 

(J) Exhicitaq-, Superflirio- ff ^ 7/> an HOt li„* but the dreadful Causa (fc. metu) clare ic- „, V / / r- r r 

quicur omnes homines natura Fhantajms and mad figments of a for- 
iuperfticioniefleobnoxios:quic- rowful and timorous Mind, (d) And the 
quid dicanc alii, qui putant hoc 
mdt orixi, qucd omnes mortales confafam -juandam Numinis Idxam habenr. Ibid. 


neither from Fear nor Policy, 

reafon ( he faith ) why all Men are thus fubjetl by Na- 
ture to Superftition, is only from Fear ; and not as fome 
have fanfied , from any confufed Idea of a God, which 
they will have to be impreffed on all Mankind. 

The Author of the Leviathan, fpeaks yet a little 
plainer as to this Point ; (e) Ignorant Men (faith he) CO Leviath. 
feign to .hem/elves fever al kinds of Invifible Powers,?' * lt 
ft and in awe of their own Imaginations, in time of Di- 
ftrefs invoke them, in time of Succefs give them thanks, 
making the Creatures of their own fancy Gods. This 
is the Natural Seed of Religion, which Men taking no- 
tice of have formed into Laws, &c, 

And he tells us in another place, (/) That Fear CD Levhth. 
of Power invifible feigned by the Mind , or imagined?' 2 ^*5 1, 
from Tales publickly allowed is Religion, not allowed, 
is Superstition. So that according to Mr. Hobbs, Re- 
ligion and Superftition differ only in this, that the 
latter is a Lye and a Cheat Handing only on the 
Authority of Private Men , whereas the former is 
iupported by the Power of the Government. In 
thefe Four Things, faith he, elfewhere, (a) confiftsr^ uvUxh, 
the Natural Seed of Religion, viz. Ignorance of Seconds 54* 
Caufes, Opinion of Ghofls, Devotion toward what Men 
Fear, and taking things cafual for Prognofticks. Thefe 
are the Accounts which our Modern Atheiftical Wri- 
ters give of the Origin of Religion , and the No- 
tion of a God among Men. And this they , with 
great allurance, put off as their own new Inven- 
tion ; without being fo juft as to mention any of 
the Ancients, from whom they have borrowed eve- 
ry Article of it. That trite Pailage every Body 
knows Primus in orbe Deos fecit timor ; and Lucretius- 
mentions Fear and the Ignorance of Second Caufes, as 


The Notion of a God, 

that which gave the firft rife to the Notion of a 

fl\n* a • • cr • r / * G ° d : For » faitn " e > 

lb) Cetera, qtut fieri inTerris Coeloq-.tuentHr (t\TX7i^,„ m*.. -±i r 

Mortales, pavidi tkm pendent mentibu ftp* \ h ) ^fn Men With fear- 

Efficiunt Animus humiles formidine Divkm, P{ Minds behold the 

Deprejfofque premmt adTerram,proptereaqu'id things in the Earth and 
JgnorantjaCaufarHmconferreBeorum Heavens, they become 

Cegit ad Impenum Res. &concedtrc Regnant', Et ■ 7-ci j j J rr 1 
Quorum operum caujas nu& ration videre a p ett " ncl de P r Wd un- 

Poffunt, hac fieri Divino mmine rentttr. der the fear of the 

Lib. 6. v. 49. Gods ; whqfe Empire Ig- 
norance ofCaufes fets up 
in the World : for when Men cannot fee any natural 
Re af on for any Effecl, they fir ait fanfie 'tis the Pro- 
duel of fome Divine Power. The very fame thing 
(c) Lib. $. he faith alfo in another place, (c) where he attri- 
VciS^ Cbutes lik ew he the Notion of Ghofts, and confe- 
«w, &c. quently of the Gods interfering with the Affairs of 
the World, to Mens not being able to diftinguifh 
Dreams from Real Appearances, tully tells us, That 
there were fome in his time, and no doubt long be- 
fore, who attributed the Opinion and Belief of the 

Gods to have been feiqned 

Ccf) Ii qui dixerunt totam de Diis immorra- 1 rxr-r -h/i otM r n „.t„ j 

libus opinionem fiftam effe ab hominibus fapientibus ty ^J e Men f 0r the l ood 

Rei public* causa. of the Commonwealth, (d) 

(<0 ©w h) Trfi-nv ktb/ te^h, v<pv<m aM* And Plato acquaints us, 

t»h&Wmv X/uSditm. Plato deLegib. K y .„\ ., T 6 , 

theijts did affirm , that 

the Gods were not by Nature, but by Art and Laws only, 
and fo were different indifferent places, according as the 
different humour of the Law givers chanced to determine 
the Matter. Sextus Empiricus faith, That there were 
(0 - rrpk ft? ivbfomov nr &*>*[** £7$ ovyr at firft jome Intelligent 
f'icfv Thii $icp G*k\<Luiv%<; tiolw ffuu{jiif oflAt a.\ia.<7iKa.- afi d Prudent Men ( f\ 

t^Uotdiluj Jlfrr. SSS Emp.1dv.Math. p. 3 10. m ™> confder d what would 


neither from Fear nor Policy. 

be beneficial to Humane Life ; and thefe firfi feigned 
the fabulous Notion of Gods, and caufed that Sufpicion 
that there is in Mens Minds about them. Afterwards 
he faith, That heretofore Men lived wild and favage, 
and preyed upon one another like wild Beafis ; tillfome 
Men being willing to prevent and reprefs Injuries and 
Rapine, invented Laws to punifh thofe that did amifs : 
And then they feigned, that there were Gods alfo, who 
took cognizance of all Mens Aclions, whether good or bad ; 
that fo no one might dare to commit any fee ret Wicked- 
nefSy when he was by this means perfuaded, 

7l:at the Gods, tho unfeen by Men, did yet infpetl into all 

Humane Ac! ions, and take notice who didwell,andwho the 

contrary. Sextus alfo attributes the Rife of Mens Belief of 

a God,to their ignorance of Second Caufes, (as I mewed 

you before that Lucretius doth : ) for he 

makes Democritiis fpeak thus, (a) When (a) 'otfms -m Z*-m ( fa- 


Lightning, Thunderbolts, Eclipfes of the ™ *) <n\*vn txjQi^t ifer 
Sun and Moon, &c. not knowing the X 7 «T * % * "*'**" ^^ 
Natural Caufes of them, but being ter- 
rified by them, they fir ait imagined the Gods to be 
the Authors of them. This therefore being proved to 
be the true fence of the Ancient Atheiftical Writers, 
and from them copied by the Moderns, viz. That 
Fear, Ignorance and Cunning were the firft. Originals 
or Caufes of the Notion and Belief of a God. Let us 
now fairly examine the Cafe, and fee what ground 
there is for fuch an Aflertion ; and whether this 
can account for that UniverfaJ Notion of a Divine 

B and 

i o The Notion of a God, 

and Omnipotent Being, which we find every where 
in the World. And, 

i. I fay, That the Notion of a God, could not 
come from Fear ; for if it did, either this Fear mull 
be univerfally inherent in all Mankind, or elfe pecu- 
liar only to fome Daftardly and Low-fpirited Mor- 
tals. If the former be aflerted, 'tis a very convincing 
Argument, that there is a jufl ground for fuch a 
Fear ; and that it hath fomething that is Real for its 
Object, that can thus affect all Men, after the fame 
manner. And if it be fo, that all Men are naturally 
iubject to this Fear of a Deity ; how could any one 
ever difcover, that there was no real ground for this, 
in the nature of the thing ? how came he himfelf 
exempted from this poornefs of Spirit ? And if he 
were not exempted from this terrible Paffion, how 
" came he to difcover, that the Object of this Fear is 
all a Cheat, and nothing but a meer Mormo and Bug- 
bear ? 'Twas very lucky for him, that the rambling 
Atoms of his Conftitution jumpt by chance into fuch 
a couragious and noble Frame and Temper ! But 
pray who was this mighty Man ? when and where 
did he lire ? what Ancient Hiftory gives us any Ac- 
count of this happy Perfon, that laughed at that 
which all the World befides were afraid of? Let the 
Atheifts give us but any Relation of him, that is Au- 
thentick, and it fhall be allowed as the greateft thing 
they have ever yet advanced. But I fuppole they 
will not fay that this Fear is Univerfal ; but that it 
only poflefleth mean and abject Spirits, and never 
invades the Great and Brave Soul. Let us fee whe- 
ther this will do them any fervice. Now by Brave 
and Great Souls, who do they mean I Do they in- 

neither from Fear nor Tolicy. 1 1 

tend by them, fuch as have Power, Command and 
Empire over others ? Nothing is more certain, than 
that Kings and Princes have been equally fubjecl: to 
thefe Fears of a God, and of Divine Puniihment, with 
the meanefi and moil: contemptible of their Subjects. 
And this (a) Lucre- 
tius hlmfelf owns (a) Pr&terea^ cut mn animus formidine Divnm 
t \c 4.\ *.4.w^v^, n !> Contrahitur ? cut non conrepunt membra pavore 
(as alio that ttllS tear frfoMskorriW cum plagUorrtda tellus 
ot a Deity IS Uni- Contremit, & magnum percurrunt murmura Caelum? 
verial) and we have Nm Populi Gentefque tremunt ? Regefque Juperbi 
Examples of it in the S"**J*f ^m perculsl membra timore 

a K r ii a Ne quoacb admijjum fceae, atclumque juperba 

Hlltories Or all Ages posnarum grave fit folvendi tempus adatlum? 
and Parts of the Lucret.I. 5 . ^1217. 

World. But they 

will fay, 'tis like, that by Brave and Great Souls, they 
don't mean Kings and Princes, but the Wife,, Know- 
ing, and Learned part of Mankind : Thefe were they 
that firft difcovered this Cheat , and who, finding its 
Advantage to Mankind, have ever fince continued 
it and carried it on for the Publick Good. Thefe 
Cunning Men finding the Vulgar generally fubjecl: to 
difmal Apprehenfions and Fears of they knew not 
what kind of Invifible Powers, took advantage from 
thence to tell them of a God, and to form the pro- 
dud: of their Fears into the Notion of a Deity. Now 
to this I fay, That if thefe cunning Politicians found 
that there was a Fear, Dread and Apprehenfion of 
fome Divine and Almighty Being, Univerfally im- 
prefled upon the Minds of Men, as no doubt but 
there is ; this, I fay, is a very convincing Argu- 
ment that fuch a Belief hath a good Foundation in the 
Nature of the thing, and confequently hath Truth 
at the bottom. And therefore 'tis plain, that thefe 

B a Men 

1 2 The Notion of a God, 

Men did not Invent, but find this Notion and Belief 
actually Exifting, by a kind of Anticipation in the 
Hearts of all Mankind. And that they could not 
poffibly invent it, had there been no Ground nor 
Reafon for fuch a Belief, I fhall plainly prove by 
and by. 

But again ; That the Notion of a God, did not 
arife only from Fear, is plain from hence ; That Man- 
kind hath gotten an Idea of Him, that could never 
proceed only from that PaJJion. If Fear only were 
to make a God, it would compofe him of nothing but 
black and terrible Idea's : it would reprefent Him to 
be 7mv $5nnpjv % rctgg.%£&<;, all envious and fpiteful ; 
a grim, angry and vindicative Being ; one that de- 
lights in nothing but to exercife his Tyrannical Power 
and Cruelty upon Mankind : we mould then believe 
him to be fuch a Power as the Indians do their Evil 
God, and we do the Devil ; a mifchievous and bloody 
Deity, that is the Author of nothing but Evil and 
Mifery in the World : for thefe mufl be the dreadful 
Attributes of a Being which Fear only would create 
and fet up in our Hearts. 

But now, in (lead of this, we find a quite different 
Notion of God in the World. We juftly believe Him 
to be a mod Kind, Loving and Gracious Being, and 
whofe mercies are over all his works. We are taught 
by the Scriptures, thofe Sacred Volumes of his Will, 
to believe that He at firft Created the World, and 
all things that are therein, to difplay his Goodnefs 
and Kindnefs to his Creatures : That "he wills not, nor 
delists in the death of a [inner, nor in the evil and 
mifery of any thing ; but that He hath by mod ad- 
mirable methods of Divine Love, provided for our 


neither from Fear nor Policy. 13 

Happinefs both here and hereafter. Now fuch an 
Account as this of the Deity, could never take its 
Rife from Fear only : And therefore flnce it cannot 
be denied but that we have fuch a Notion of God, 
it mud have fome more Noble and Generous an Ori- 
ginal. We find, indeed, in our (hives a juft Fear and 
Dread of Offending Co Good and Gracious a God ; 
and we believe it fuitable to his Juflice, to punifh 
thofe that will pert inaciou fly continue in a flate of 
Rebellion againft Him , after having refufed and 
flighted the repeated Overtures of his Mercy. But 
then we know very well, That the Notion we have 
of a Deity, is not occafioned by, and derived from 
this Fear ; but, on the contrary, this Fear from it. 
'Tis the Natural Confequence and EfTecl of the Be^ 
lief and Knowledge of a God, but it cannot be the 
Caufe and Original of it. For Fear alone can never 
difpofe the Mind of Man to imagine a Being that is 
infinitely Kind, Merciful and Gracious. The Atheift 
therefore muft here take in Hope too, as well as Fear, 
as a joint Caufe of his pretended Origin of the Belief 
of a God ; and fay, That Mankind came to imagine 
that there was fome Powerful and Invifible Being, 
which they hoped would do them as much good, as 
they were afraid it would do them hurt (a). But C?)vid. Arch- 
thefe two contrary Idea's, like Equal Quantities in /Sp^se'l 
an Equation with contrary Signs, will deftroy onemon, p.^, 
another, and conlequently the Remainder will be 
nothing. And therefore the Mind of Man mull: lay 
afide fuch an Idea of God, as foon as he hath wellcon- 
fidered it, for it will fignifle juft nothing at all. 

Another very good Argument, That the Notion of a 
God^did not take its firft Original from Fear only,may 


■Jg» '- ■■ l" ■ » ■ ■ ' '■ 

i a The Notion of a God, 

be drawn from hence, That thofe that do believe and 
know mod of God, are the lead Subject to that fervile 
Paflion. If Fear only occafioned Mens Notion and Be- 
lief of a God, the confequence mufl be, that where 
the Notion of a Deity is mod ftrong and vivid, there 
Men mufl be moft timorous and apprehenfive of 
Danger; there the greated didrud, fufpicion, and 
anxious follicitoufnefs about the Events of Futurity 
would be always found. But this is fo far from 
being true in Fa6fc , that no one is (b free from 
thofe Melancholy and Dreadful Thoughts and Appre- 
henfions , as he that truly believes in, and Fears 
God. For he can find always in Him Almighty De- 
fence and Protection ; he can caft all his care on God 
who he knows careth for him : When all the trea- 
cherous Comforts of this World leave him , and 
when nothing but a gloomy Scene of Affliction, 
Didrefs and Mifery prefents its felf here ; yea, even 
when Heart it felf and Strength begin to fail, God 
will be (he knows) the Strength of his Heart and his 
Portion for ever ; and even in the vaft Multitude 
of his AfflillionSy God's Comforts will refrefh his SouL 
But 'tis far otherwife with the miferable Wretch 
that hath no Belief of, nor any Knowledge of God.; 
if he fall into Affliction, Trouble, or Mifery, he hath 
nothing to fupport him : He is the mod abjecl: and 
difpirited of all Mankind, his whole head is fick, and 
his heart is faint , and his Spirit cannot fuftain his 
Infirmity ; for he hath not only no Power and Abi- 
lity to bear the prefent load of Mifery, but he ex- 
pecls yet much worfe to come ; and notwithstanding 
all his former Incredulity and Bravery, he now, as 
the Devil himfelf doth, believes and trembles. And 


neither from Fear nor Policy. 

therefore, though as Plutarch obferves, TLh(& 3 s ^ 
vifM?<£<d'txs> fjun poo«*J, H be the chief Defign of 
Atheifm to give Men an Exemption from Fear * yet 
'tis a very foolifh one, and falls very far iliort of 
anfwering its End : for it deferts and fails its Vo- 
taries in their greater!: Extremities and Neceffities, 
and by depriving them of all juffl Grounds for hope, 
mud needs expofe them to the mod difmal Invafions 
of Fear. And thus, I think, it is very plain, That 
the Notion of a God could not take its firft Original 
from Fear. As to the Ignorance of Second Caufes, 
which is fometimes alledged as another Occafion of 
the Notion of a Deity ; the Modern Atheifts do not 
much infill upon it, and therefore I need not do fo 
in its Refutation. I have fhewed already whence 
they had it ; and I think it fufficient to obferve here, 
that there are no Men fo Ignorant of Second Cau- 
fes, nor any that give fo poor and trifling Accounts 
of the Phenomena of Nature as thefe Atheiftical Phi- 
lofophers do. And therefore Ignorance ought rather 
to be reckoned among the Caufes of Atfjeifm and 
Infdelity, than of the Idea of God and Religion ; 
for I am very well anured that a through iniight 
into the Works of Nature , and a ferious Contem- 
plation of that admirable Wiidom, excellent Order, 
and that ufeful Aptitude and Relation that the feveral 
Farts of the World have to each other, mufl needs 
convince any one,that they are the Produds of a Di- 
vine and Almighty Power. The Invifible things of God 
may be underftood by the things that are made, and his 
Eternal Pewer and Godhead difcovered by this means (a); 
as hath been excellently demonftrated by the learned £a)Hom>h 
DrXadworth t Dr, Bentley, Mr. Ray> and many others. 

And ■' 


1 6 The Notion of a God, 

And thefe kind of Gentlemen have betrayed their 
jhallow and fuperficial Knowledge of things, ^fey no- 
thing more, than by pretending to give an Account 
of the Original of the World, the Motion of the 
Heavenly Bodies, of Gravity, and feveral other Pha- 
nomena of Nature, without having recourfe to a Deity ; 
as I mall hereafter more particularly obferve. But I 
now haften to Refute that which they make their 
Great and moil: Common Obje&ion againfl the Being 
of a God ; And to Ihew, 

z. That the Notion of a God did not, nor could 
not, arife from Cunning and Contrivance ; and that 
it was not invented by any Crafty and Politick 

Though that it did do Co , is the constant Afler- 
tion of thefe Gentlemen ; and they do it with as 
much aiTiirance, as if it were a Self-evident Propo- 
rtion. In all Companies they will naufeoufly tire 
you with this Battology, over and over again, That 
All Religion is a Cheat, and the great eft Cheat of all is 
Religion. But this themfelves have happily difco- 
vered ; and therefore they Scorn to be impofed upon 
by Prieft-craft ; they will neither be ridden by Priefls, 
nor lead by them ; they can go without Leading- 
firings ; and wont be put to the Temporal Charge of a 
Spiritual Guide : and they have quitted the Thoughts 
of going to Heaven by the fame means as they go to 
the Play-houfe, ( i. e. ) by giving Money to the Door- 
keepers. As the Tranflator of Philoftratus infolently 
(a) Blount's exprefles it. (a) Now after all this bold and repeated 
if ?h°e f plcfice*. Exclamation againfl Prieft-Craft and Holy Shamsfrc. 
" Would not one think that they had fome demonftra- 
tive Ground, to prove that the Notion . of God, 


neither from Fear nor Policy. 17 

and Religion is all a Cheat and Impofturei Would 
not one fuppofe that they could name the very Per- 
Ion that firft Invented this Fourhe * tell us when, 
and where he lived, and plainly prove by what means 
he came to impofe fo grofly on Mankind, and how 
they came to be fuch Fools as to take it, and dully to 
fubmit to it ever fince ? Nothing fure, that is lefs 
than a dire ft Demonftration, ought to protect a Man 
under fo rude a Liberty as thefe Gentlemen take, of 
ridiculing all the Sacred Laws of God and Men. But 
have they any fuch Proof ready ? or have they ever 
yet produced it ? No , nor is it pollible they ever 
mould ; as appears plainly from the Ancient Hifto- 
ries of all Nations in the World. In no one of thefe 
do we ever find the leaft mention made of any one 
that Invented the Notion of a God. 'Twas a Thing 
taken for Granted by all the Ancient Law-givers, 
that there was a God : This they never went about 
to prove ; nor had they any need fo to do, or to 
feign it, for they found it univerfally and naturally 
ftamp'd upon the Minds of Mankind. This Mofes 
himfelfdoth not fo much as attempt to teach the 
Jews, as knowing very well that it was what they 
had a general Notion and Idea of before. And Homer 
fpeaks every where of the Gods , as of Beings uni- 
verfally known and believed, and never goes about 
to prove their Exigence. The fame thing appears in 
Hefiod, and in the Fragments that we have of all the 
Ancient Greek Poets. And though it be not true 
in Facl: , yet 'tis a good Argument ad Hominem 
againft the Atheifts, that Lucretius pretends to tell 
you when Atheifm began, and who was the firft 
Bold Man that difputed and denied the Being of a 

C God. 

1 8 The Nation of a God, 

(a) Primum Grain* homo mortales tollere contra God. This he faith 
Efi ocnlos aufus, prlmufq; obfiftere contra : Efiicurus ( a ) But 

^ucmnec fan** Deduce fulminanecminitanti ^ d ^^F lCHr f- \ a ) ^ 

MHrmurecomf refit Cesium Lib. i. v. 67. he cannot deny but that 

in fo doing , -Epicurus 
contradicted the common Sentiments of all Man- 
kind, and broke through thofe Fears and Obligations 
that the generality of Men were under to a Divine 
Power. But to Refute a little more Methodically 
this trite Objection. I fay , that the Notion of a 
God could not derive its Original from the cunning 
Invention of any Politick Perfon, for thefe Reafons : 

1. Becaufe the pretended Inventor himfelf could 

never poilibly have come by fuch a Notion, had 

there been no fuch Being as a God. Sextus Em- 

, , „ piricus obferves very 

{b) — Qetffiv 077 VifMSireu we* cM£7nia<mv iti* tit*A1 T'L^,* +L«,.„L / L\ 

Mphmt % <&i QsZvJlfrv, tf &h* 077 id dr , We11 ' T j j U & h ( *' 

yjiZnv aWor avtm r&bpiyef £my<nt.v1@- awv®-, lis pretended that Law- 

ritov Ji ol vog>W<u, t (wJiv©- v&kpv ™&Sv)f- rivers and Politicians 

(*%v tfafywnt T47wv %x* m *vvoitw t *x ^wtos <#• invented the Notion of 

Adv. Math. p. 314. a <jod; yet the Affer- 
t€rs of it are not aware 
of an Abfurdity that arifes thence : for if it fhould he 
asked, how they them f elves came by fuch a Notion ? 
they muft be at a lofs ; they will not fay they had it 
from others , nor can they account how they came by it; 
and therefore it muft have been from the beginning ; 
and fo all Men muft have a Notion of God, though not 
all after the fame way. And, indeed, 'tis not poflible 
to imagine that fuch a Notion could ever have come 
into any one's Head, had there been no fuch Being 
as a Deity. Were he an abfolute Non-entity, and 
really Nothing at all, 'tis unconceivable how any 
one could ever attain an Idea of God , or have 


neither from Fear nor Policy. i p 

coined any word that mould fo have exprefled that 
Idea , as to render it intelligible to any one elle. 
The Mind of Man cannot invent , or make any 
new fimple Idea or Cogitation ,• it cannot poflibly 
make a Pofitive Conception of that which is really 
nothing at all. Which way foever we come by 
our Idea's, we cannot have one of what is abfb- 
lutely a Non-entity; for what is abfolutely Nothing, 
can neither come into us by our Senfes, not be in- 
nate in our Minds. And therefore if there were no 
God, we could never have had any Idea of Him ; 
nor could any one ever pofiibly invent, or frame 
fuch a Notion in his Mind. I know the compoun- 
ding , ampliating and feigning Power of the Mind 
will here be alledged ,• and it will be faid that we 
may by that means frame Notions of things which 
perhaps did never, nor ever will Exifl : Thus we 
may gain the Notion of a Flying Horfe, of a Crea- 
ture , half a Man and half a Horfe , a Man of a 
Thoufand Foot high, &c. and therefore fay they, 
(3) why might not the Mind of Man, by this (a) sext. Em- 
compounding and ampliating Power, feign as well p "' k - Adv - M *' 
the Notion of a Deity ? To which I anlwer, That jf™' p " 3I 
this Power in our Minds doth not, nor cannot 
extend fo far. All that we can do by it, is to 
connect together two or more poflible and con- 
fident Idea's, or to Ampliate or Enlarge any one 
or more of them, in point of Time, Extent, &c. 
Thus, as was before faid, by connecting the Idea's 
of Wings and a Horfe, or of a Horfe and a Man, 
we may feign a Pegafus or a Centaure ; and I can 
imagine either of theie Creatures, or any other, to 
live Five Thoufand times as long , or to be Fifty 

C 2 Thoufand 

a o The Notion of a God, 

thoufand times as big, as is ufual. But all this is 
ftill iliort of what 'tis brought for , and will give 
no account at all of the Invention of the Idea of 
a God. For fuppofe the Mind would endeavour 
to amplifie the Idea of a Man into that of God, 
which is the Way Sextus Empiricus lays Men might 
(b) vbifupra*n& did come by the Notion of a Deity. (J>) Firft, 
he faith, the Mind can give him Eternity of Du- 
ration : But how came it by that Idea of Eter- 
nity ? was that Idea previous to the Invention of 
a Deity ? and had Mankind a clear Conception of it > 
if they had, the Notion of God could not be then 
invented , for one of his chiefeft Attributes was 
known before. But I fuppofe they will fay that 
the Notion of Eternity was gained by Amplia- 
ting the Idea of Duration or Tirrie beyond the 
common and ordinary Term : And thus by ima- 
gining a Man to live a Thoufand or Ten Thoufand 
Years, I may come to frame the Notion of a Be- 
ing that lhould always exift. But that is a grols 
Miltake ; for a Being that lhould endure Ten Thou- 
fand, or Ten Millions of Years, is not therefore 
exempt from dying at laffc , any more than one 
that endures but Ten Minutes. Had I not in my 
lyiind before a clear Idea of Eternity, I could no 
more by this Ampliating Power gain a Notion 
of an Eternal Being , than I could believe my 
feif to be Eternal ; for every thing about me 
would contradift that Notion ; and 'tis very ftrange 
that I fhould come to believe any Being could 
have an Eternal Duration from confidering of things 
that, are all periihable and mortal. 


neither from Fear nor Policy, 2 1 

That which leads Men into this miftake, is, I fup- 
pofe this : We have all of us a Notion of a Being, 
Perfect or Eternal, as to his Duration, becaufe there 
is fuch a Being in Reality : And therefore, when- 
ever we go about to confider of Time, or of the 
Period or Term of the Duration of a Being, we 
can ampliate it fo, as to fuppofe it mall never ceafe 
to be, but have its Being flill continued on without 
end : That is, we can connecl; the Idea that we have 
of Eternity with a Being, and (b render it Eternal. 
But this could never be done, if there were no Idea 
of Eternity at all, if there were nothing Eternal, if 
there were no God. The cafe is the fame as to all 
the other Perfections of the Divine Nature. We have 
clear Idea's and Notions of them in our Minds ; and 
therefore we can talk about them, and be under- 
llood : becaufe there are real Idea's that anfwer to 
thofe words that we ufe ; and fomething really exift- 
ing, that anfwers to thofe Idea's. But were there no 
fuch Being, nor any thing Real in Nature, to deduce 
our Idea's from, were there no God, 'tis impoflible 
there could be any fuch Idea's at all. 

But however, this Ailertion, That the Mind of 
Man was able to Invent the Notion of a Deity, 
and communicate it to the World, is a moft flat 
and palpable Contradiction to what the Atheift 
at other times urges, and that too, as founded 
ort Principles that he is very fond of. In my laft 
Difcourfe, I {hewed you, That he objected againfl 
the Being of a God, from our not being able to 
have any Idea of Him ; and this he endeavours 
to fupport, by aflerting alio, That we have no 
Knowledge but Senfe, and that all our Conceptions are 


22 The Notion of a God, 

pajjive. Now both thefe are abfolutely inconfiflent 
with the Original that he is now attributing to the 
Notion of a God. For if it be true, as he faith it is, 
That, we can have no Idea of God ; 'tis very ftrange 
to fuppofe, that a Politick Man fhould Invent, and 
the World Receive the Idea or Notion of That which 
'tis impoflible for any one to invent, or receive. 'Tis 
a little odd, that a Man mould firft cunningly devife 
he knew not what, and then the affrighted World 
believe they knew not what ; and that we fhould 
prove and aflert, and the Atheift ridicule and deny 
the Exigence of That which we do none of us all 
know any thing about ! Butfo it mud be, according 
to the Atheift's Uniform Scheme of Things. 

Again, If, as he aflerts , all our Conceptions he 
Pajfive, and all our Knowledge, Senfe : which way 
could this Cunning Inventer of a God, come by his 
Notion or Idea of Him ? how could his Mind attain 
any fach feigning and ampliating Power ? For accord- 
ing to the Atheift's Principles, the Mind could -have 
no Active, much lefs Spontaneous Power at all ; but 
all our Idea's and Conceptions would be meer necef- 
fary Motions, mechanically occafioned by the Im- 
preflions of External Objects. So that as Protagoras 
tells us (in Plates Theatet.*) Ovn yl^ rd fjun ivla. Sl»- 
vcntv £t%a,jcq, an a,W<z irap <z ctv 7rk^Q\ : 'Tis neither 
pojfible to conceive that which is not y nor indeed any thing 
elfe, but only juft as our Mind fuffers it by ImpreJJions 
from without. And therefore no Man could ever 
pofTibly Invent any thing at all, nor have any Power 
within him of putting or joining together two or 
more fimple idea's, or of ampliating or enlarging any 
Idea or Notion at all ; much ieis could he grow lo 



neither from Fear vor Policy. 2 3 

very fubtle as to Invent the Notion of a Deity. 
And as no Law-giver nor Politician could, we fee; 
have Invented the Notion of a Deity, if he had had 
a mind (oto do; Co it appears very weak and foolifh 
in him to do it, if he could. For while there was 
no Belief among Men, of any Divine and Almighty 
Power, he would have been a mortal God himfelf (#) GO lew***** 
as Hohhs calls the Commonwealth : His Will would v ' 8? ' 
have been his Law ; and Men's Obedience to Him, 
would have been founded in the Fear they were under 
of his great Power. And this, according to the- 
Atheiftical Principles, would have been a much bet- 
ter Stay and Support to his Authority, than the idle- 
Obligations of Confcience and Religion. For the 
aforel'aid Author tells us, (b) That if the Fear ofSpz-W & P- 7» 
rits ( /. e . of a God ) were taken away, Men would he 
much better fitted for Civil Obedience. And in ano- 
ther place he goes a little further yet, and faith, 
(c) That 'tis impoffible any Government can ftand, where ^ c )ih.^ 238* 
any other than the Sovereign hath a Tower of giving 
greater Rewards than Life, and greater Punifkments 
than Death. That is, where there is any Obligation 
on Mens Minds to a. Divine and Almighty Power : 
which they will chule to obey, rather than the Un- 
lawful Commands of an Arbitrary Prince, that can 
only kill the Body. Now there is no doubt but that 
this is true of fuch a Power or Government, as that 
he" calculated his Leviathan for ; i. e. One abfoliitely 
Arbitrary and Tyrannical. And all Power mult be fo, 
if there be no God, and no Antecedent Good and 
Evil, but what the Will of the Sovereign fhall make 
fb, as Mr. Hobbs pofitively aflerts there is not. There- 
fore that Man muft ad very unwifely, who when ha 


2 4 Tfo Notion of a God, 

was pofielTed of Power enough to give Laws to,and go- 
vern others by his fole Will andPleafure, would ever 
invent the Notion of a God and Religion. For this was 
the direct way to cramp himfelf in his Power, to tie 
up his own Hands, and to let the People fee that he 
himfelf is accountable to God, as well as they ; 'tis to 
teach them, that the Power he hath, is but a Trull 
committed to him by God, which he is to difcharge 
for his Subjects Good and Advantage, and not only 
to gratifle his own Will and Humour. And this No- 
tion might induce the Subjects of an Arbitrary and 
Tyrannical Prince, to eafe him of the Trouble of a 
Government, that they perceived involved him in 
a great deal of Guilt, and would proportionably en- 
creale the Account that he mull one day give of 
his Stewardihip. But, 

z. As the Idea and Notion of a God, cannot pof- 
fibly have been invented by any one ; fo neither 
could it have been underllood or believed by Man- 
kind, if it had been fo. Had there been only one 
Perfon that had coined die Idea of a God, and no 
manner of Notion at all of any of his Attributes or 
Perfections previous to this, in the Minds of Men ; 
what would it have fignified, to tell them, that there 
was a God i how could they underltand the meaning 
of a meer Arbitrary word, that had no manner of 
foundation in Nature, nor any Idea or Notion an- 
iwering to it ? Words are but Marks of Things, or Signs 
to know them or diftinguifh them by : and therefore 
a Word that is the Sign of what is abibluteiy Nothing, 
or a Non-Entity, mull needs be nonfenie and unintel- 
ligible. And confequently, he that ihould attempt 
to awe Mankind with an empty Sound, that had no 


neither from Fear nor Policy, 315 

Signification, would certainly be expofed -to con- 
tempt ; and inftead of affrighting others, would 
only be laughed at himfelf. The Author of Amma 
Mundi, faith, {a) Thattote//aPropbaneRabbleofan(4)V<ig. s 6. 
Invifible Deity, and of a Future State of Rewards and 
VunifhmentS) wiUfigmfie nothing at all : and, That Men 
will not f or f itch Metaphyficks, forbear any manner of 
Tleafure or Profit, how bafe foever. How then could 
the Figment of a Deity gain admittance into the 
Minds of Men, at firft ? What would it fignifie 
to tell Men of an Invifible Power, that prefides 
over, and governs the World; when (according to 
the Atheift's Suppofition) they had no manner of 
Notion of any fuch Being before, and conlequently 
could not know what was meant by fuch Words and 
Expreflions. Should you tell them, indeed, of a po- 
tent Neighbour, that was coming flrongly armed, 
to take away their Life or Goods, they would look 
about them, and endeavour, by flight or force, to 
fecure themfelves. But to tell them of a Power that 
they never faw nor heard any thing of before, and 
which they are told withal, is impoffible to be feen 
or heard, or any way rendred an Object of their 
Senfes, could make no imprefiion at all on Mankind : 
or fuppofe that it could make fbme impreflion, and 
frighten fome Men at its firft propofal, how long 
would tins laft ? No longer, at fartheft, than till 
they were by Experience convinced that it was falfe 
and precarious, and that there was no Ground nor 
Reafon to believe any fuch thing. And this they 
mufl arrive at in a imall time, 'if the Thing were 
falfe. 'Tis impoflible fuch a Cheat as this, which it 
would have concerned every one to have examined, 

D could 

2 6 The "Notion of a God, 

could long have maintained its Ground. Time dis- 
covers, and certainly lays open all impoftures ; and 
that the fooner, the more are concerned to enquire 
into it. And therefore had this Notion and Belief 
of a Deity had no other Original and Foundation 
than what the Atheifts pretend, 'tis impollible it 
could have continued ib long in the World ,* and 
much more fo, that it mould have gained ground 
as we know it hath continually done , and be efta- 
blifhed on better Principles, the more it hath been 
confidered and underflood. Opinionum commenta delet 
dies, natura judicia confirmat, faith Cicero. Befides, 
It cannot well be imagined that any Man mould have 
the vanity to believe, that a thing which he knew he 
had invented himfelf, and which had no manner of 
ground nor foundation to fupport it from the Nature 
of the thing, could ever impofe upon and delude 
Mankind, or indeed find any admittance in their 
Belief. He muft needs think that others would be 
as fagacious to difcover the Cheat, as he could be 
to contrive it ; and that among fo many Heads, fome 
one would foon detect the Forgery of what mufl ne- 
ceflarily appear falfe and precarious to the common 
Senfe and Reafon of all Men. But, 

3*//y, and laftly, The Univerfality of the Notion 
and Belief of a God, is alfo a moil demonstrative Ar- 
gument, that it could not arife from the Invention of 
any Cunning and Defigning Perfon. That there is 
iuch an Univerfal Notion of a Deity, cannot, I think, 
be denied by any one ; and I doubt not but farther 
Difcoveries will fatisfie us, that there is a Notion of 
God even among thofe Barbarous and Savage People 
that are faid to have no manner of Idea of Hira, by 

a late 

neither from Fear nor Policy. 2 7 

a late Ingenious Author. But fuppofing that it were 
lb, that the Knowledge of a God were quite loft, in 
three or four dark and uncultivated parts of the Earth, 
whofe Inhabitants are fo brutifh , as fcarce to think 
at all : this is no more an Argument againd the 
Belief of God's being Univerfally diffufed throughout 
the World, than Monfters and Fools are , that Men 
have not generally a Humane Shape and Reafon. 
There are lome Anomalies, Irregularities and Excep- 
tions in all Things and Cafes, which yet are not by 
any accounted of force enough to over-turn a ge- 
neral Rule. I mall not fay much to this Point, it 
having been fo largely and frequently handled al- 
ready ; only I cannot omit the Teflimony of fome 
of the Ancient Writers, who are very exprefs, that 
there is an Univerfal Notion of a God among Man- 
kind, and which they looked upon to be Natural, or 
by way of Anticipation. There 

is, faith Cicero* (a) a Notion of a 00 In omnium Animls Deorm AV 
God imprefeJ on the Minds of all TzZ™7t. f *T* ° £ Na " 
Men. And in another place, faith ^ ^ Gens efit aut ^ d Genul 

he, (b) What kind of Nation or Hominum, quod nan habeat fine Doflrini, 

People is there any where to he a "L2? on < em ^ am D T W ' iHam 

1 r J fc appeuat <&&M\.tv Epicurus. Ib.c.32. 

founds who have not, without learn- 
ing it from others, a Prolepfis or Anticipation of a CO Tufcul. 
Deity. And in two other places, he tells us, (c) That ^f^\,u 
there is no Nation fo barbarous and wild, who do not 
acknowledge the Being of a God, and fome how or other ^0 vid. E/v/?. 
revere and worfhip htm. Seneca, in his Epiftles, (d) d<? ie/je/fr.4.4. 
frequently faith the fame thing. Sextus Empiricus 
owns alfo, (e) That all Men have a common Notion of ( j) Kuvlwfi 

it cAsfcUfAOMe., *) -zztVTVs jjjws sifiTr, •J'zkJov. 

D % God, 

2 8 Tfee Notion of a God, 

God, by way of Prolepfis ; and believe Him to he 
a mofl Blejfed and Happy Being, Incorruptible, Im- 
mortal ', and uncap able of any kind of 
7*h$Hj^£&?%£ Evil. And he concludes, That 9 1 is 
d^d: fAM <pv<ny.Z< Zw tKw&Xf Adv. unreajonable to ajjert, that all Men 
mat km. p. 314. fhould come to attribute the fame 

Properties to God by Chance, and not rather be induced 
thereunto by the Diclates of Nature. Maximus Tyrius 
hath a very plain Paflage, to prove this common No- 
tion of a God, (/) Though, faith 
(f) 'Ei> totk-to mKiixa xj 9x<jh he, there be fo much quarrelling, 
% JUwip "* 'f,<< f f ™? 79 difference and jangling in the World, 

■^Lviwv frcLciKivs K) wr<p t?7» $ yet you may'Jee this agreed in all over 

o'Ktotw hiyn % 3*P3*p®: **>«. ** the Earth, that there is One God, 

j IX? ft* ^ ' w ' * the Kin § and Father of aI] - *** 

the Greek and the Barbarian both 

fay, the Iflander and the Inhabitant of the Continent, 

the Wife and the Unvoife alike. Ariftotle faith, 

(g) That all Men have a V re-notion 

(i) T\avrx $*v9c6mDi <&i ®&v concerning the Gods, even both 

Ste.^* Greeks and Barbarians. And in 

another place, he hath a very re- 
markable paflage to this fence, That there is a very 
Ancient Tradition {which our Fore-fathers have handed 
down to Pofterity, in a Mythological Drefs ) That there 
are Gods ; and that the Divine Nature fuftains or encom- 
(*0 J*^L" f paffeth all things. But this Tradition, he faith, had, in 
Apyojiav^za- P roce f s °f tme i f ome Figments connected with it ; as, 
koxuv, h> f«J8* that the Gods had Humane Shapes, or thoje of other 
% *^'2Jtrii C reatures > & c - which if we feparate from it, we may 
vn&vfrt Qmfuppofe it at firfl divinely fpoken and delivered, That 
T&tapvm, vgthe Gods were the Firfl Beinos. (h) 

ay tIu) qkUp yvm-, <&c. Aiiflot. Mccaph, 1. 14. c.-8. p. 483. Parif. 1654. 


neither from Fear nor Policy. 29 

Many more Teftimonies might be produced to 
prove this Point, that it was the concurrent Opinion, 
of all the Ancient Heathen Writers , that there was 
a common Notion or Belief of a Deity in the Minds 
of Men ; But thefe , I think , are fu/ficient. And 
now what can the Atheift fay to fifth a Proof as 
this ? What greater Evidence can be defired of the 
Truth of any thing, than that it hath been belie- 
ved by all Men in all Ages and Places of the World ? 
Tisa very good way of Arguing from Authority, 
that Ariftotle ufes in his Topicks. That, faith he, 
which feems true to fome Wife Men, ought to ap- 
pear a little probable ; what moft Wife Men believe, 
is yet further probable ; and what moft Men, both 
Wife and Vmvife do agree in, is much more pro- 
bable yet; But what is received as Truth by the 
general confent of all Mankind in all Ages of the 
World , hath certainly the higher! degree of Evi- 
dence , of this Kind , that is poflible. And what 
hath fuch a Teflimony, 'tis intolerable Arrogance 
and Folly for any Men to deny ; and to fet up their 
fingle Judgments and Opinion contrary to the com- 
mon Suffrage of all Mankind. But they arefo puft't 
up with Pride and Vanity, that they do not fee the 
Weaknefs and Precarioufnefs of what they advance, 
nor how inconfiftent it is with their other Tenets. 
If it have but the appearance of contradicting the 
received Notion that we have of a God, and if it 
do but leem never fo little to Undermine Religion,, 
they will fet it up at a venture as a Demonftration, 
and flick to it, let it be never fo inconfiftent with 
what at other times they deliver. Thus fometimes 
they will aflert, that there & no Univerfal Idea or 


The Notion of a God, 

Notion of a God. At other times they will grant 
there is fuch an One, but that it was Coined and In- 
vented by Tome Cunning Politician a long while ago, 
before any Books or Hiftories were written, and by 
him communicated by Tradition to Poflerity. But 
here they do not confider that this will necedarily 
derive all Mankind from one common Parent : which 
is a thing they will, at another time, by no means 
admit of, left it ihould feem to countenance the 
Story of Adam or Noah : which is faid to be 
nothing but an old Jewijh Tradition, And that 'tis 
impollible to account for the Peopling of America and 
All //lands remote from the Continent, without fup- 
pofing their Inhabitants to be Aborigines ,- and to 
fpring out of the Earth like Mufhrooms. And then, 
to account for the General Notion, that they can- 
not deny, thefe Aborigines have of a God ; as be- 
fore they made One Wife Man Invent it, now they 
will fuppofe it to be done by a Hundred fuch Cun- 
ning Politicians : who, -though in different Places and 
Ages of the World, yet did all light by chance on 
the very fame Notion of a God, and Abufe and Cheat 
Mankind juft after the fame manner; and though 
this be the mod extravagant and ridiculous Affertion 
that ever can poftibly come into the Mind of Man, 
as well as contradictory to the former, yet 'tis all 
one for that ; this, or any thing elfe, mall be fup- 
pofed rather than they will yield to the Conviction 
of Truth, and allow the Notion of a Deity to have 
a real Foundation. But 'tis no wonder to rind Men 
that wilfully Ihut their Eyes againft the cleared Light, 
to go forward and backward, and oftentimes run 
againft each other in the dark Mazes of Error : thofe 


neither from Fear nor Policy. 3 1 

mult jieeds be at a Lofs who neglect His Guidance, 
who is the Way, the Truth and the Light, and that Spi- 
rit which would lead them into all Truth ; and thofe, 
no doubt, may eafily mifs of the true Knowledge 
of God , who are refolved they will not feek after 
Him, and all whofe Thoughts are , that there is no 


Books printed for Rich. Wilkin at the King's- 
Head in St. PaulV Church-yard, 

IMmorality and Pride the Great Caufes of Atheifm. 
A Sermon Preach'd at the Cathedral Church of 
St. Paul, January the 3 d. 169 J. Being the Firft of the 
Lecture for that Year, Founded by the Honourable 
Robert Boyle, Efq; In Quarto. 

The Atheift's Objection, That we can have no Idea 
of God Refuted. A Sermon Preach'd at the Cathe- 
dral-Church of St. Paul, February the jth. 1 69I. Being 
the Second of the Lecture for that Year, Founded by 
the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efq; In Quarto. 

Remarks on fome late Papers relating to the Uni- 
verfal Deluge, and to the Natural Hiftory of the 
Earth. In Ottavo. 

All three by J. Harris, M. A. and Fellow of the 

Dr. Woodward's Natural Hiftory of the Earth, in 

Dr. Abbadies Vindication of the Truth of the 
Chriftian Religion , againft the Objections of all 
Modern Oppofers j in Two Volumes. In Qftavo. 




The Atbeifts Obje&ions, 

Againfl t\\e. 

Immaterial Nature of GOD, 


In Two 


Preach'd at the 

Cathedral-Church of St. Paul, 
April 4 th * and May 2 d 1698. 


Fourth and Fifth of the Lecture for that Year, 

Founded by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efq; 


and Fellow of the Royal-Society. 


Printed by J. L. for Richard Wilfyj, at the 

Kjngz-Htad in Sr. Paul's Church-Tar d, 1698. 



JOHN iv. 24, 

God is a Spirit 

TH E Occafion of thefe words was this : 
Our Blefled Lord, in his way into Galilee, 
pafled through Sjchar, a City of Samaria, 
near to which was the famous Well of the 
Patriarch Jacob. To this Well our Saviour went to 
refrefh himfelf on his Journey ; and as he always made 
it his bufinefs to be doing Good, took occafion from 
a Woman's coming to draw Water, to difcourfe with 
her about the Bufinefs of his Million. By way of 
Introduction to which, He firft gives her fome Proofs of 
his being endowed with a Super-natural Knowledge. 
From whence me juflly concluding Him to be a Pro- 
phet, or a Perfon enrich'd with Divine and Extraor- 
dinary Gifts and Qualifications ; flie ask'd Him con- 
cerning one great Point that had been long in difpute 
between the Samaritans and the Jews, (/. e.) about the 
true Place for Religious Worfhip. The Jews rightly 
aflerted Jerufalem to be the Place where Men ought to 
Worflip. The Samaritans contended, that it ought 
to be with them, at Shi/oh, in Mount Ephraim, where 
the Ark and Tabernacle were placed long before the 
building of the Temple at Jerufalem, and where alio 
the Patriarchs, before the Law, did ufe to facrifice 
to, and worfhip God. They pretended alfoto be the 
true Succeflbrs ofjacol>,and of the Ancient Patriarchs, 

A z an4 

4 The AtheiJVs Objection t , againft the 

and confequently, that their Place of Worfliip had the 
greateft Support from Antiquity. This Pretence was 
an Umbrage to that Temple that they fet up in 
Mount Gerizim ( in the time of Darius) in oppofition 
(a)Jofeph, An- to that at Jerufalem, (a) and which they fuppofed to 
r/jN!r.].ii.c.8.g^ ve an Holinefs to that Mountain, even after the 
Temple was deftroyed. And the Samaritan Verfion 
of the Pentateuch hath plainly falfified the Text of 
Mofes, in Dent, xxvii. 4. by fubftituting Mount Gerizim 
inftead of Mount Ebal, in order to gain fome Honour 
to this Celebrated Place. But notwithftanding all 
thefe mighty Pretenfions, the Samaritans were per- 
fectly in the wrong. The Ancient Pedigree that they 
boafted fo much of, was wholly falle and precarious. 
For they were, in reality, only the SuccefTbrs of 
fome Jffyrians, who were planted in the Cities of 
Samaria by Salmanefer , when he carry 'd the Tribe 
of Ephraim Captive iflto Ajfyria ; as you may read at 
large, 2 King. xxvi. 24. 

This therefore being the true State of the Cafe 
between the Jews and the Samaritans ; our Saviour's 
Anfwer to the Woman was, That the Jews were in 
the right, becaufe they worfhipped the True God, 
and that too in fuch a manner as was agreeable to 
that Revelation God had .given them of his Will : 

We know what we worjhip • But the ^Samaritans 

were doubly miflaken, both as to the Object, and as 
to the Place of their Worfhip. They, He tells her, 
worshipped they knew not what. In which, it feems 
probable, that he may allude to what is faid of their 
Anceftors the Ajfyrians in the Place before men- 
tioned, 2 King. xvii. 26. (vizi) That they worfhipped 
the God of the Land. That is, They blindly paid 


Immaterial Nature o/God, &c. Refuted. 5 

their Devotion to the God of their New Country, 
without having any true and real Knowledge of him : 
But along with him, they wor (hipped their own Aj- 
fyrian Deities too ; fuch as Succoth-Benoth, Afbima- 
Nergal, and the like. Our Saviour tells this Woman 
alfo, That a Time of Reformation was now at hand, 
when the Worfhip of God mould not be confined 
either to Jerufalem, or Mount Gerizim ; and that a 
more pure and Spiritual manner of Worfhip mould 
be eftablifhed ; one that was not embarrafs'd with fo 
vafl a number of External Rites and Ceremonies, 
but one more fuitable to the Nature of God, and to 
the Improved Sentiments of Mankind : for God, faith 
he, is a Spirit ; and they that worfhip him, mufl wor- 
fhip him in Spirit and in Truth. This teems to be the 
Occafion and Connexion of thefe words : which 
having briefly mewed you, I proceed now to fpeak 
to the words themfelves, God is a Spirit. 

By which Terms, God and Spirit, thus connected 
together, we understand an Infinite Being, moft Wife 
and Powerful, containing in Himfelf all poflible Per- 
fection, without being fubjed to any of thofe Defeds 
and Limitations which we plainly difcover in Ma- 
terial Beings. And after this manner the Holy Scrip- 
tures do defcribe God Almighty to us ,• they attribute 
fuch Perfections and Qualifications to Him, as we can 
have no poflible Idea of, as belonging to Matter. 

Body or Matter is a Sluggifh, Infenlible, Paflive and 
Unintelligent Thing, not poilibly able to move of it felf, 
or to a6t or perform any thing by its own Power ; but 
all the Motion and A&ivity that it hath, comes to it by 
Communication from fomething that is without it, or 
diftinft from iff. But all Power, loth in Heaven and 


6 The Atheifis Objections, againjl the 

Earth, is the Lor 4s : In his Hands are Tower and Might ; 
with Him is Wifdom and Strength, he hath Qounfel and 
Understanding. He made all Things j He jlretcheth 
(a) i chron. y^j/j t j :e Heavens alone , and Spreadeth abroad the 
Job\ 2. 9,&c. Earth ly himSelf. there is none like to Him, who 
jfa. 44.2+,6'f' created and maintaineth all things, and in whom all 
£c ffc, 24 ' things Live, and Move, and have their Being (a). 

The Form and Fajhion of all Material Things, we fee, 
is continually flitting and changing, and there is no- 
thing among them of any conltant and lading du- 
ration. But God is Immutable and Eternal, the fame 
Tefterday, to Day, and for ever ; He was, and is, and 
Mm. ui* 'is to come, and with him is no variablenefs, neither 
t>ait. 33.27. Jhadow of turning (£). 

Material Beings are all limited and imperfetl as to 

their Extent. The Place they are in confines and 

circumfcribes them ; Nothing elle can be there with 

them, nor they themfelves any where elfe. But the 

Heaven of Heavens cannot contain God, which yet he 

more than fills with his Prefence : which PreSence no 

one can flee or hide himfelf from : He is the fe archer 

even of our hearts, and knoweth the moftfecret thoughts 

(V) 2Chron.6. of Men. There is no Creature that is not manife/t in 

?*• his fight, but all things are Naked and open before 

jer.17.10f him (c). This and fuch like is the Account that 

&20.12. the Sacred Scripture gives of God, which is plainly 

Inconfiflent with his being Material or Corporeal: 

and therefore it calls him in the words of my Text 

a Spirit, a Divine, moil Excellent and Perfect Being, 

that difcovers himfelf to our Reafon and Underftan- 

ding, but cannot polTibly do (a to our Senfes; for 

him no Eye hath feen nor can See ; he is Invijible, he 

is a Spirit. 


Immaterial Nature of God Sec. Refuted 

But here the Atheiil thinks he hath a fuflicient 
Ground for infuperable Objections ; Here his Phi- 
lofophy is called in to his AiTiftance ; and by the 
Strength of that , he will undertake to maintain, 
that there is not, nor cannot be any fuch thing as 
a Spirit, (i. e.) Any IncorporeA or Immaterial Being 
or Suhftance. And therefore fmce the Sacred Scrip- 
ture and Divines do defcribe the Deity after thisab* 
furd and impoflible manner, 'tis a good Argument 
(lay they) that there is no fuch Being at all : For 
when Men pretend to Defcribe God after fuch a man- 
ner as is Nonfenfical, Unintelligible and ImpolTible, 
(and yet fay , that theirs is the only right way of 
Speaking of him) : When Men attribute fuch a man- 
ner of Exigence to him, as we know is contradictory 
to the Nature of Things; we have then juft Ground 
to disbelieve all that they advance, in defence of fo 
ridiculous and abfurd a Notion, and confequently to 
conclude that there is no God at all. And hence we 
fee thefe Men raife another Great Objection againfl 
the Being of a God, viz. That his Nature is fo De- 
fcribed as to be Unintelligible and Noafenfe. Which 
I fhall now therefore endeavour to Refute. 

And in Order to mew the Groundlefnefs and Inva- 
lidity of this Obje&ion, 1 fhall in purfuance of my 
former Method : 

L Give you the fenfe of the Modern and Ancient 

Atheifts on this Point. And then, 
II. Endeavour to Refute what they Advance , and 

ihew how Unreafonable it is to build Atheifm 

and Infidelity on fo weak and invalid a Foun- 

dation, And, 

i> h 


The AtbeijVs ObjeBions , againji the 

(a) Lexutb. 

(b) Leviath. 
p. 371.20';. 

(c) Leiiatk. 

1. I fhall give you the Modern and Ancient Atheifls 
Senfe on this Point. 

Mr. Holbs, that lofty Pretender to Philofbphy, de- 
clares that to fay there is any Immaterial Subflance, 
is not fb much an Error, as it is Nonfenfe ; 'tis ufing 
an Infignificant word, whereby we conceive nothing but 
the Sound ( a ). And in his Kingdom of Darknefs, 
where he undertakes to correct the Univerfity Lear- 
ning, he is very Angry with Ariftotk's Metaphyficks, 
becaufe it brought in, as he faith ( tho' falfly, as I 
ihall prove hereafter) the Dc&rine or Notion of 
Separated Effences, and alfo of Immateriality and In- 
corporeity ; for what is not Corporeal, he faith, is No- 
thing, and confequently no where. And this he under- 
takes to prove from a Paflage which he feems to 
have borrowed from- Ocellus Luc anus , tho' without 
naming him ; and which , tho' it be a poor So- 
phifm, and much worfe than thofe he is condemn- 
ing ; yet he boldly lays it down as a Demonflra- 
tion. The Univerfe, faith he , is Corporeal , that 
is to fay Body, and hath the Dimenftons of Magnitude, 
namely, length, breadth, and depth ; alfo every Part of 
Body is Body ; and confequently every Part of the Uni- 
zierfe is Body, and that which is not Body is no Part 
of the Univerfe. And becaufe the Univerfe is all, that 
which is no Part of the Univerfe is Nothing, and con- 
fequently no where (b). In another place he faith, That 
no Man can conceive any thing but he mufl conceive it 
in fome place, of fome Determinate Magnitude, and as 
that which ma) be divided into Parts (c). And again, 
p. 17. and xo-j. he tells us, That an Incorporeal Sub- 
fiance is a Qcntraditlory and Inconfiftent Name ; 'tis all 
one as if a Man Jhould fay, an Incorporeal Body ; which 


Immaterial Nature ofG o d, &c. Refuted. 

words when they are joined together, do deflroy one ano- 
ther ; and therefore Body and Subftance are all one {a), (y) Leviatk. 
Elfewhere he tells us, That the proper Signification of?- i% 207. 
the word Spirit in common fpeecb, is either a / id tile, 
fluid and invifible Body, or elfe a Ghofi or other Idle 
Phantafm of our Imagination (£), and a little after he CO *>«*& 
ailerts, that to Men that underftand the tne-anmg of the?'" ' 
words Subftance and Incorporeal, they imply a Contra- 
diction ; and that to Jay an Angel or Spirit is an Incor- 
poreal Subftance ', is to fay in effetl there is no Angel 
nor Spirit (c). And this Notion he dtknds in his CO t.eviatb. 
Anfwer to Bifhop Bramhalfs Book written againft his F ' 214 ' 
Leviathan ; and perieveres in averting that God him- 
felf is a Aloft Pure fiwple and corporeal Spirit; and 
he defines a Spirit in General to be a thin, fluid, tranf- 
parent and invifible Body (d). Thus alfb Spinoza, in (I) Anfwer to 
his Opera Pofthuma, p. 13. determines Extended Sub- ,^°P Bram " 
fiance (that is Body) to be one of the Infinite Attri- » p,?l » 3 * 
butes of the Deity, and this he undertakes to demon- 
strate from hence; that there is not (as he faith) any 
Other Subftance but God ,• and who consequently is 
a Corporeal , as well as a Cogitative Being. Deus eft 
res extenfa (e). This, you perceive, is the plain fenfe (<?) Etbhes 
of thefe Writers, That there is no other Subftance Pctrs *• Pr0 ?' 2 - 
but Body ; and coniequently to talk of a Spirit or an p ' 42# 
Incorporeal Subftance, is to them perfect Nonfenfe 
and Contradiction. But tho' this be their Opinion 
and Aflertion, yet they did not Invent it, nor firft # 
find it out : they are as far from being Originals 
in this, as in other things ; for herein they do but 
Copy the Sentiments of the Ancient Atheifts, and 
tread exactly in their Steps. That there was nothing 
but Body in the World, was long ago the Aflertion 

B of 

i o The Atheifi's ObjeBions , againjl the 

of fuch unthinking Men as our Modern Atheifls are. 
Plato tells us, That there were fome in his Time, w ho 
afferted nothing to he Subftance hut what they could feel, 
and which would reft [I their Touch ; and thefe Men af- 
firmed Body and Subftance to he the fame thing; and 
what they were not ahle to lay hold of and to grajp 
f ^\ A » , t» n ~ ?* • * ' with their Hands, they faid was 
vqaCoKlu), x) tm^U m& rnvjov o£ji& really nothing at all. And if any 
$ia*vUfopwi.—*v™p\w y Jbvctlol one happened to talk with them 

vats y<ct>m wumC&V eicnv, at aps. t»70 i .1 j- .» . „ 

Mv ALglLr fe.— fit $ £nSp Am ahout an y **>*"& that «W mt Bo ' 
pm fw <mfjLA 'tyov Vt), y/}a.<pejvxv% 70 dy, they would ridicule and de- 

SS"' ^ iJ r '-* K0V% * M ° *****' fpifi bim 9 and not hear a word 

more that he jhould Jay \J>), 
Ariflotle acquaints us, That jufl fuch were the 
Atheiftical Principles of his Contemporaries. They 
affirm ( faith he ) Matter or Body to he the only Sub- 
ftance, and that all other things are only Taffions and 
Affeclions of it. And in another place, he faith, that 
thefe Men aflerted all things to he one ; That there 
,,, „ ^ , , , Htiio it hut one Nature only, which is 
w w*v, t2 tf l** *tf* mlfaT*™. the Matter of all Things , and 
— "Ei> tv -mv, £ yuAv u) met q>vtnv> & this is Corporeal, and hath mag- 

*ticP% $ Me^h fTTf ** Mtvh (*)• And this was long 
Me>«fl@- sy«0KK. Metapn. 1. 1. c. 7. v / . . & 

before the Opinion alfo or Leu- 
cippus and Democritus. 

Epicurus argues againfl Plato , that there can he no 
Incorporeal Deity ; not only hecaufe no Man can frame a 
conception of an Incorporeal Subftance, hut alfo hecaufe 
whatever is Incorporeal , muft needs want Senfe, and 
Prudence and pleafure ; all which things are included 
in the Notion of God : And therefore an Incorporeal 
inii. r 's) ft. W 'Deity, faith he, is a Contraditlion (c). And his Fol- 
f*io* lowers , as appears by Lucretius, continued in the 


Immaterial Nature ofC o d, &c Refuted, 1 1 

fame Opinion , that there is no other Subftance in 

Nature but Body (a) ; and they had no Notion of (V) p r *ter C4 

any Incorporeal thing, but their Vacuum or Empty «*;/ eft quod 

r i • i 11 J.W ii poms dicere ab 

fpace, which was really nothing at all. oicer>o«/e- 

Sextus Empirkus tells us, that all the Epicureans, j™fittm,&c. 
and fome of the Stoicks, as 'Bafileides in particular, Llbl '• v ' 45 ^ 
maintained /uwMv $ijcl<jot>/ua,lGv, that there was nothing 
Incorporeal or Immaterial (b) . By thefe Teftimonies r^ Adr^Urh. 
we fee plainly, that the Modern Atheifh tr'anfcribe p, 2*7» jj 
the Ancient Opinions exactly, and have been able 
to add very little to them. And the Notion that 
Mr. Holhs feems (b fond of, and which he would 
fain fet up as his own Difcovery, That a Spirit is 
nothing but a Thin fluid and transparent Body: feems 
to me to be plainly taken from the g&ijul Mirlojui^, 
which Ariftotle tells us, was the Definition that fome 
then gave of a Spirit, or the Soul of Man. 

And thus having truly flated the Cafe, and lliewed 
you what the Sentiments of the Ancient and Modern 
Atheifts were and are, as to the Matter before us. 
I fliall now proceed to Examine by what Reafons and 
Arguments they endeavour to fupport their Afler- 
tion, That there is no fuch thing as any Incorporeal 
Subftance, but that whatever really is, is Body. And 
here I find their main and chief Argument to be • 
This; that an Immaterial Subftance is an Unconceivable 
Thing : 'Tis what no Man can poflibly have any no- 
tion or conception of; 'tis a perfect contradiction in 
Terms, and confequently Nonfenfe and Impoflible. 
This is every where almoft the Language oiMr.Hobbs, 
as I have before obferved. He alio pretends to dis- 
cover the to cunov t- \^2^a$, the true Caufe of this 
Fiction about Immaterial Subflances. The Notion, 

B z he 


The Atbeiji's ObjeSiionf , again fl the 

(4) Leviath 
P- 373- 

CO P- 372. 

he tells us, took its rife from the Abufe of abftra&ed 
Words, and fuch-like Metaphyfical and Scholaftical 
Terms , which fome have fanfied as real Entities 
feparated and diftind from the Subject, or Matter, 
of which they are Attributes or Qualities only. Thus 
for In (la nee, hecaufe we can conflder Thinking or a Rea- 
foning Fewer alone by it felf and diftintl from Body ; 
therefore fome have been fo foolifh as to conclude that 
it is not the Ail ion or Accident of that Body in which 
it is, but a real Subflance by it felf And 'ris upon 
this Account, that (a) when a Man is dead and buried, 
they will fay \ his Soul (that is, his Life) can walk 
feparated from the Body, and isfeen by Night among the 
Graves, whereas Life is only a Name of Nothing, (b) 
and the Soul or Mind of Man is in reality Nothing elfe 
but the refult of Motion in the Organical Parts of his 
(c) Leviath. % oc {y ( c ), 'jj s Jifc e t j ie forms and qualities of Other 
cive 9 c 15. e things, depending purely on the Mechanifm, Modi- 
§. 14. And in fication, and Motion of the Parts of Matter, accor- 
he°r*h P j£ ^ n £ as lt na PP ens t0 t> e varioufly difpofed, figured 
nihil aiiudeft and agitated ; and confequently it can be nothing at 
all diilincT: from that Body whofe Form or Quality 
it is. And this Soul or Mind, or any other Faculty 
or Quality in Man, coming once to be conceived as 
a thing diftind from the Body, and being Invifible 
and Tnlenfible, hath been called by fuch Names as we 
u(e to give to fine Subtile and aereal Bodies. Such as 
iMVjucL, Spiritus , and the like : which do properly 
fignifie the Wind, or, which is near akin to it, the 
Breath of Man (*/). And fo Mr. Hobbs tells us, 
that in order to expreis our greater honour of God* 
the name of Spirit hath been given to him likewife, 
as better exprefling to vulgar Apprehenfions his fine 


pr£tert{i<(im mo- 
tus in quibuf- 
d&m Jxtrtibtu 
corporis Orga- 

■(*?) Leviath. 
p. 2D7, 208. 

Immaterial Nature of God, &c. Refuted. 1 3 

aereal and Subtile Nature, than the grofler word of 
Body. But howev er,Fhilofophers and Men offenfe muft 
take care, and not be impofed upon by infignificant 
words, fo far as to imagine there can in reality be any 
fuch thing as an Incorporeal Suhflance : for that is, 
when throughly confidered, an abfolute Contradiction 
and Nonfenfe. "Tis nothing but an empty Name, with 
which fome poor Wretches are frighted, as the Birds 
are from the Corn by an empty Doublet, a Hat and a 
Crooked Stick (e) ; as he is pleafed to exprels himfelf. CO &viath. 
And this is the lumm of what this mighty Philo- F * 373 * 
fopher advances againft Immaterial Subflances. Spi- 
noza is the only Man befides, which I have met with, 
that aims at difproving the Exiftence of Incorporeal 
Beings : Which in his Opera poflhuma he pretends de- 
monflratively to do. But his chief and indeed only 
Argument is this ( as I hinted before ) that there is 
but one only Subflance in the World, and That is God. 
Matter or Body he afferts to be one of the Attributes 
of this Subflance, or the Mode by which God is con- 
fidered as Res extenfa; from whence he concludes, 
that there can be no Subflance but what is corpo- 
real, becaufe Body is an Eilential Property of his 
one only Subflance, the Divine Nature. The Preca- 
rioufnefs of which Obfcure and Metaphyseal way 
of Arguing, I fhall plainly (hew below. 

And, Thus having given you the fum, of what 
thefe Writers advance againft the Doctrine of Incor- 
poreal Subflances, I fhall next proceed to Refute it, 
and to fhew you how weak and inconclufive their 
Arguments and Objections are. In order to which, 
I fay, In the Firft place, 

1 . That 'tis a very precarious and groundlefs way 


Second Ser 

1 4 Tfo AtbiiJFt Objections, againfi the 

of arguing, to deny the Exiftenee of any thing only 
from our particular Apprehenfions and Conceptions 
not being able to mafter it. For it will not in the 
leaft, follow, that there can be no fuch thing as an 
Incorporeal Subftance or a Spirit , becaule fome few 
Men pretend that they cannot conceive how any 
fuch thing can poffibly be. And I " have already 
00 See my f] ieW ed, (a) that we have very juft reafon to allow 
the truth of, and to be iatisfied of the Exiftenee of 
many things, whofe Nature neither we, nor perhaps 
any one elfe, can fully Underftand and Comprehend. 
Thefe Gentlemen pretencj that they cannot conceive 
or have any Idea of an . Incorporeal Subftance. But 
yet they think , I fuppofe , that they have a clear 
Idsea and Conception of Body. Tho' mould you 
put them to defcribe it, they would be very much 
at a lofs. For as one hath well obferved, (Mr. Lock 
in his EJfay o/Humane Underftanding, Book z. c. 23. ,) 
if we carefully examine our Idea of Subftance , we 
ihall find that it is a kind of complex one y confifling 
as it were of feveral Idea's coexifting together: which 
becaufe we are apt to conceive as one thing, we give 
it the General Name of Sulftance : as imagining that 
word to exprefs fomething, tho' in reality we know 
not what, which is the fupport of thefe Accidents or 
Qualities which occafion the Idea's we have in our 
Minds of it. Let us therefore take any corporeal 
Subftance, as fuppofe Gold ; and inquire in our Mind 
what is that Support , Suhftratum or Subftance , in 
which the Accidents of Tellownefs , great Specific k 
Weighty and ftrange Duclility under the Hammer do 
inhere ; all which concurr to give us that complex 
Idea which we have of Gold : Shall we not find our 


Immaterial Nature ofG o d, &c. Refuted. 1 5 

Mvcs put to it how to conceive , or to have a clear 
Idea of this ? If we mould fay that the fubject of 
thefe Properties are the folid extended Parts; we 
fhall not be much the nearer Satisfaction : lor our 
Mind will be inquifitive agen what is the Support or 
Subject of that Ex ten/ion and Impenetrability. We 
may fay, indeed, that 'tis the Subflance it ielf: which 
is a word that we ufe, and implies fomething or 
other that is the Support of thefe Properties, but 
what that is, we have, I think, no clear and certain 
Idea. When yet we have clear and diflincl: Concep- 
tions enough of thefe Properties which we find in 
this Body, and from whence we pronounce it to be 
Gold. So if on the other hand we take any Incor- 
poreal Subflance , as fuppofe the Mind or Soul of 
Man ; and enquire what is the true Support of that 
Self-moving Power, that Reafoning and Cogitative Fa- 
culty, and that Liberty or Freedom of Adion which 
we plainly perceive to be inherent in it : we fhall 
indeed be at a loft, but yet no more than we were 
before in reference to Gold. For as from confidering 
the Properties peculiar to that Body, we were fatis- 
fied that they mud: be inherent in fomething, tho' 
how or in what, we have no clear Idea ; fb when we 
confider Life, Cogitation and Spontaneous Motion in our 
Soul, we know very well that thofe more real Pro- 
perties rauft have fomething alfo for their Support, 
or fome Subflance to inhere in : tho' what that is^ 
and the peculiar manner of this we are wholly igno- 
rant of. But then we have as jufl reafon to believe 
that this Subflance is real, as that the Subflance of 
Gold is fo. For Cogitation, Life, and Spontaneous 
A&ion, are Properties undoubtedly of as real a Na- 

1 6 The Atheifts ObjeSiions , agawji the 

ture as great Intenfive Weight, Teliownefs and Dufti- 
lity can poilibly be. And as we cannot but conclude 
both thele to be real Subftances , fo we cannot alfo 
but conceive them as Natures absolutely diftinft and 
different from each other, and which can have no ne- 
ceiiary dependance upon and relation to each other: for 
we can never imagine that Gold can be ever brought 
to think, reafon or wove it (eU fpontaneoufly, any more 
than we can conceive a Soul or Mind to be yellow, 
heavy or duftile. That is , we have quite different 
Idea's of each of them, and which nothing but wil- 
ful or long habituated Ignorance can ever make us 
confound together. And thus it appears to me that 
we may have as clear an Idea of Incorporeal Sub- 
ftance, as we have of Body ; and that the former is 
no more unconceivable than the latter. And there- 
fore 'tis as abfurd to argue againft the Exiftence of 
a Spirit, only from our not having any clear Idea of 
the Subftance of a Spirit ; as it would be to fay 
there is no fuch thing as Body, becaufe we don't 
know exa&ly what the Subftance of Body is: which 
I dare fay no Man can affirm that he doth. 'Tis 
very poflible that Men may be fo blinded and preju- 
diced by falfe Principles, fo ftupirlcd by Ignorance, 
Idlenefs or Vice , and fo engaged and enflaved to a 
peculiar fett of Notions, which advance and fupport 
that way of acting and proceeding which they take 
delight in, that a great many things may appear Un- 
conceivable and Impoffible to them , which fhall be 
far from being lb to others , whole Minds are free, 
and more enured to thinking. Should you tell a 
Man, who is a Stranger to Geometry and Aitro- 
nomy, of the many admirable and furprizing Truths 


Immaterial Nature o/God, &c. Refuted. 1 7 

that can certainly be demonflrated from the Prin- 
ciples of thole Noble Sciences, he would boldly pro- 
nounce them Impomble ; and all your Difcourle and 
Proof (fhould you attempt any fuch thing) would 
to fuch a Perfon beNonfenfe, and your words meer 
empty and infignificant Sounds. And there are many 
Perfons in the World , on whom the clearefl and 
•ftrongeft Method of Reafoning that ever was, will 
make no manner of impreflion at all, becaufe their 
Minds are not at all enured to a clofe way of Ar- 
guing and Thinking. And truly the Atheiftical Wri- 
ters do difcover fo poor a Knowledge in Philofophy, 
and fo very little acquaintance with true Reafoning 
and Science ; that 'tis no wonder at all that they 
mould not be able to conceive and comprehend a 
great many things which others are very well fatisfied 
with. / know very well, faith the Ingenious Perfon be- 
fore cited, that People whofe Thoughts are immerfed inEfkydffman 
Matter, and who have fofubjecled their Minds to their Vndrrflanfing, 
Senfes, that they f eld om refleft on any thing beyond^' 1 **' 
them, are apt to fay they cannot comprehend a thinking 
thing ; which perhaps is true, &c. And therefore fuch 
a Philofopher as Mr. Hobbs, that defines Knowledge 
to be Senfe ; and faith, that the Mind of Man is nothing 
but Motion in the Organical Parts of his Body, may eafily 
be infatuated fo far as to aiTert that there is no other 
Subftance but Body, and that a Spirit or Incorporeal 
Being, is a Nonfenfical, Contradictory and Impoilible 
Notion. While Others, who can raife their Minds 
a little higher, and who can penetrate farther into 
things, will be fully fatisfied that fuch Philofophy is 
Nonfenfe and Impof/ibility. As indeed fome Perfons, in 
all Ages of the World, of which we have any Account, 
have ever been. For, C 2. Which 

1 8 The Athetfis Obje&ions , again ft the 

2. Which is another very good Ground, from 
whence to refute this abfurd Opinion that there is 
no fuch thing as an Incorporeal Being : I fay, there 
have been always many Perfons in the World, that 
have firmly believed and embraced the Doctrine of 
Immaterial Sub dances, and who have alfo afTerted 
the Deity to be of that Nature. And this will Un- 
deniably refute the two great Points of Mr. Hobbs 
his Opinion. For, if it be proved plainly that there 
hath been all along a received Belief and Opinion that 
there are Immaterial Subr'nce^, md that God him- 
felf is fuch an One : it is then moll: clear and cer- 
tain, that the Notion is neitner inconceivable, con- 
tradictory, nor nonfenfe : and alio that it did not 
take its Rife and Original only from the Abule of the 
Philofophy of Ariflotle. Not the former ; for what 
is in its own Nature unconceivable, nonfenfical and 
abfurd \ could never fure gain an Admittance into the 
Belief of fb many great Men, as we iliall fee pre- 
fently this Opinion did. Not the latter ; for what 
was commonly received in the World before the time 
of Ariflotle , could never be derived only from his 
and the Schoolmen's Philofophy, as Mr. Hobbs is 
pleafed to fay this Belief of Immaterial Subftances 
was. And that there was always in the World, a 
Notion and Belief of another more noble Subftance 
than Body, and that the Deity was of an Incorporeal 
or Spiritual Nature , we have the united Suffrages 
of all the Ancient Writers that are preferved down 
to our time. 
(a) lib. de Cicero tells us , That the Heathen Philofophers 
Mar. Deorum, generally defined God to be Mens pur a & fincera^ 
Qv«fUib, i> foluta & libera ab omni concretione mortal; (a) ; and 


Immaterial Nature o/God, &c Refitted. i p 

fpeaking of Thales Milefius in particular, he faith of 
him, Aquam dixit effe hitium Rerum % Deum autem 
turn Mentem qua ex aquti cuncla fngeret. Now this 
Mind they all diflinguiihed plainly trom Matter, and 
looked upon it as a much more Noble Principle than 
'twas poilible to conceive Matter to be. Latlantius 
acquaints of Pythagoras {a). Quod unum deum confi- (a) De irl 
tetur % dicens Incorporalem effe mentem. qua per omnem Dei ' Cm £*• 
Naturam diffuja C9 intent a, vitalemfenjum cunttis Am- 
malibus tribuat. And Plutarch gives us much the 
fame Account of him in his Books, De Placitis Phi- 
lofophorum , viz. That he made two Principles; onelfo- *• c.3, 
Atlive, which was Mind or God : The other Pa/five, or 
the Matter of the World. And thofe Verles of Em- 
pedocles, are very remarkable ; wherein fpeaking of 
the Deity, he afierts Him not to be of Humane fhape; 
And alfo that, 

e Hjuir(^ig, ti "X^^r\ Aa/Set? 

( i. e. ) That he is no way perceivable by any of our 
Senfes ; which is as much as to fay , he is Incorpo- 
real. And in the next Lines he doth exprefly tell us 
what he is : 

A facred and ineffable Mind, which by fwift Thoughts 
moves and atluates the whole World. Anaxagoras alfo 
ailerted, That (b) an ordering and regulating MindQO p ¥f c ^. 
was the fir fl Principle of all things ; and this Mind he i foph. Lib. 1. 
made, as Ariftotle faith of him, /udvov rfi wlcw &$& c.3. p. 875. 
&, dyj-fi £, xaftx^Jv. The only, pure, fimple, and un~ 

C % mixt 

ao The Atheifis Obje&iont , againfl the 

mixt thing in the World: thereby plainly diftinguifhing 
it from Matter, the Parts of which, he, who was as 
Sextus Empericus calls him ^vawltafK^ knew very 
well to be promifcuoufly blended and mixed toge- 
there very where. Sextus alfo tells us,That That Mind 
which Anaxagoras afferted to he God ; was frg&.gv&Qv 
a^yjj/, an Atlive Principle ; in oppofition to Matter, 
5f , 5M i\ £ ff' which is a Paffive one , * and this is agreeable to 

adv. Mathem. , , N fl c . » . . . » 

p. gop. what the Poets lay or Spintus intus alit ; mem agi~ 

tat molem, &c. We are told likewife by Sextus, That 
Jfenophanes held en £ig % dau>jucc1(^ ®ilg, That there 
is hut One God, and he Incorporeal. And Plutarch de- 
fcribing the Deity, hath thefe remarkable words, 
God is Mind, a feparated Form perfectly unmixed with 
Matter, and without any thing that is paffihle, v£g Zv 6 

£&} irafttfctj ov/ATTi'xh'SfjUvcv. And in another place 
he aflerts, a&6va.1w <Ztyh fjjiav uMv 7$ w1w Ij v\g ra 
7mv1a \hxrcsuvoy. That 'tis impoffihle Matter alone can 
(a~) DePlacic. he the file Principle of all things (a). 
Phiiof.i.i.c.3,. plato every where diftinguifheth between corpo- 
real, and incorporeal Subilances, calling the former 
by the Names of ctiMWniV Senfible, and the latter 
r b ) Nomtt? always either dac^jucalov- or vovflw, immaterial or inte/li- 
&/la. $ dau- y gihle ; and he faith, That certain intelligihle and iwcor- 
«4« «^Tfo» p orea i Forms, are the true andfirffi Suh fiance ; and that 
g) — T«t jS incorporeal Things which are the great ejr and mojt ex- 
douwfl* Hdfc cellent of all others , are difcoverahle hy reafin only, 
Sfy and nothing elfe Q). 

(Mvovd^vo And in another place, he faith, That they were in* 
igyUottiZi ftrucled hy their forefathers, that Mind and a certain 
Polk, p, $47. wonder) ul Wijdom , did at jirjt frame, and doth now 
Eicjo. govern, all, things. His words are § ^qSw $(*&> &*■ 

Immaterial Nature o/God, &c. Refuted. 2 1 

y>v, vSv Kj ^zJvaviv rivet Snzv /j,cl?1w avvrxr%7a.v it, o£^<> 
KAj£$0v£v%jjLvjra,vTa,. In Phileb. p.28. Which (ufficiently 
fhews the Antiquity of the Notion of an Incorporeal 
Deity, and the way alfo how they came by it. Of 
the fame Opinion alio was Socrates, as we are told by 
Plutarch, and others. Lib. de Placit. Philof. 1. c. 3. 
Zeno and the Stoicks defined the Deity to be <pvai$ 
voizcl itj My™, an fate fie ft ual and Rational Nature ; 
or as Plutarch recites their Opinion, irnvjua, va^Jv ^ 
«« i'^ov- fAv /Lcogplw, an Intelligent Spirit devoid' of all 
Bodily jkape. Ibid. And Sextus Empericus tells us of 
Ariftotle, that he conftantly aflerted God to be Incor- 
poreal, and the Utmoft Bounds of the Univerfe Ctf).(V)Adv.Mich, 
And Ariftotle concludes his Book of Phyficks with p ' 15 ^ 
affirming (b) that 'tis impoffible the fir ft Mover (ox ^ ,. ., 7 
God) can have any Magnitude-, but he muft needs rinptfovw^y 
be devoid of Parts, and Indivijible. And Plutarch hi* 19 " ^h\- 
gives us. this as the received and common Opinion of J^i^*- 1 ' 
the' Stoicks, that God was ttviv/jm. hmov 51 oXa tS </>«i/>s7o* s& *} 
yjvjux, a Spirit that was extended, or did penetrate^ 1 *' $*&* 
throughout the whole World. De Piacitis Philofoph.N^riScuit * 
lib. 1. c. 3. p. 882; . L8.C15. 

Now by thefe Pafiages, and many others that 
might eafily be produced, it appears very plain that 
the mod Ancient Writers had a good clear Notion of 
God, and that they fpeak of him as of a Mind per- 
fectly diftincT: from Matter, or as an immaterial or 
incorporeal Being. Many of them alfo deliver then> 
felves very exprelly as to the Soul of Man ,- which, 
as Plutarch tells us (c), they generally afferted to be In- CO ol *■&%■ 
corporeal; and that it was naturally a Self moving and^oT?'!™' 
Intelligible Subftance. But of this, more in another X^ <amfer> 

fh. » ' ^ > > rftJBLi'^w Tcu V"™' *&*- 

ytw «ww«r»iTor & vn&v voimr, Lib. de FlacmsPhilof. 4. c. 2. p. 8^8, 


2 2 The Atheift's Obje&ioNS, againft the 

place. And that the Ancients did believe God to be 
a Spirit, or a mod Powerful, Intelligent, and terfecl: 
Immaterial Subftance will yet farther appear, if we 
confider what Notion they had of, and how they 
defined Matter or Body. Plato defcribes it by the 
words itzja&oXn ty iirx^h, that which thrufts againft. 
other Bodies , and refills their Touch or Impulfe. 
Others call it tottx 7$iripz>1iyjv, that which (b fills up 
a place , as , at that time , to exclude from it any 
other Body. Sometimes they called it the to ird^pv, 
in contradiftindtion to the to itoiw , or the to %§& * 
awHffg. That is, they diftinguifhed it to be of 'a pure 
pafitve Nature, and which was adted and deter- 
mined only by Impulfe from without it, or difhindt 
from it ; they knew very well that there was alfo 
befides it , fome Aftive thing, fomething that was 
the Caufe of Motion and Aft ion in the Univerfe. For, 
as Plutarch well obferves, a ovvctlay 3 fi v\v\ Ht) ivleyvta., 
(.ODePlacicislaV fm to mm* \jsntfdxty, (a) '7 is impojfible Matter 
Piiilof. Lib. 1. a i me can produce any thing, unlefs there be befides it 
c ' 3 * fome Aftive Caufe. Sextus Empiricus alfo gives this 

(b) irnlwfiv Definition of Matter or Body (l\ That it is that 
$ uHSfk dv-n which refifts other things which are brought againft it ; 
*(^*tf"\J&'-f or Refift ance > faith he, or Impenetrability, is the true 
^^aiyAQr Property of Body. By thefe Accounts that they have 
Adv^Mattf''' S^ ven us °^ Matter or Body, 'tis very eafie to under- 
p. 32. Hand their Notion or Idea of it ; which, indeed, was 

the Juft and True one. They thought Matter or 
Body to be a purely Paffive Thing, incapable of mo- 
ving or acting by it fetf ; but wholly determined ei- 
ther by fome internal and Self-moving Mind, or by 
the Motions and Impulfes of other Bodies without it: 
That it was ^a^TcV dvirzyj-nQv , that is, as we now 


Immaterial Nature ofG o d, Sec. Refuted. 2 3 

adays fpeak, Impenetrably extended, and did Co fill up 
fpace on place, as to exclude any other Body from 
being in the fame Place with it at the lame Time : 
If to this you add what Ariftotle, and fone others, 
laid of it, that it was alfo capable of all Forms, Fi- 
gures and Modifications , you have then the whole 
that ever they thought Matter could do or be. Now 
from hence 'tis exceeding clear that they could not, 
as indeed we find actually they did not, think Mat- 
ter or Body the only Subflance in the World ; and 
that the Deity was Material or Corporeal. For they 
always defcribed the Divine Nature by Attributes 
and Properties that were the very Reveries of what 
they appropriated to Matter or Body. God, they 
have told us, is an Intelligent Mind, pervading and 
encompafling all things ; an Active Energetical Prin- 
ciple ; the Caufe of all Motion and Operation what- 
ever ; Intangible, indivifible, invifible, and no ways 
the Objed of our Bodily Senfes ; But yet whole 
Eflence is plainly difcoverable by our realbning and 
Underftanding Faculty. This was, as we have feen, 
the Notion or Idea that many of the Ancient Phi- 
lofophers had of the Deity ; and this plainly (hev;s 
us, that they look'd upon him to be what St. John 
here defines him , an Incorporeal Being, or a Spirit 
There were indeed fome even then, as I have before 
ihewed, who being wholly immerfed in Matter them- 
felves, did aflert that there was nothing elfe but Body- 
in the World. Such were Leucippus and Democritus ; 
and afterwards Epicurus and his Seel:, who perverted 
the Ancient Atomical and true Philofophy to an Athe- 
iftical Senfe , and made ufe of it for the banilhing 
the Notion and Belief of a God out of their own and 


qa The Atheijl's Gbje&ions , again ft the 

others Minds : as, indeed, ibme others long before 
f4)T«r«tfTp£them had attempted to do (d). But in this, 'tis 
rrwv ? /aoot^h- very plain (as ( £ ) an Excellent Perfon of our Na- 
iflS wwtionhath obferved) that thefe Men did not under- 
uJiifivw ?»-ftand thePhilofophy they pretended to : For it doth 
*h* v >*£$-** moft clearly follow from the Principles of the True 
iri^Metaph. Atomical or Corpufcular Philofophy, that there muft 
1.1. c. 3.P.842. be lome other Subftance, diftincl: from, and more 
m%r.citdw. Noble than Matter; and which is of an Immaterial, 
inhh inteiie- ' Incorporeal or Spiritual Nature. And this, I hope, 
fr u <iisyj}.oftke- it Wl \[ not b e judged impertinent briefly to prove at 
Varmfe. ^^ Time ; becaule fome, who feem not lb throughly 
to underftand it , have of late reckoned the Mecha- 
nical Philofophy among the Caufes of the growth of 
Atheifm and Infidelity. It is very much to the Pur- 
pofe, that the Ancient Atomifls before Democritus 
and Leucippus, did plainly aflert and maintain the 
Doctrine of Incorporeal Subftances , and that the 
Deity was alfo of that Nature himfelf, as I think I 
have fufficiently proved in this Difcourfe ,* and there- 
fore thofe confident Modern Writers, who fay that 
the Ancients never had any Notion of an Immaterial 
Being, betray equally their Ignorance with their Af- 
furance : for the Doctrine of Immaterial Subftances 
was as well the Concomitant, as indeed it is the Ne- 
cejfary refult of this kind of Philofophy. The Em- 
bracers of it, found plainly that they had a clear and 
diftincl: Idea of two Things, viz. Pajfive Matter, and 
Aclive Power ; .and thefe they found were perfectly 
diftind from each other, and no way dependent at 
all upon each other. To the former of thefe, they 
only attributed extenfion and impenetrability, and a 
Power of being variously figured, modified, dilpofcd 


Immaterial Nature ofG o d, &c. Refuted. a 5 

and moved. To the latter, they afcribed Cogitation, 
Life, Sen&tion, and the Power of Motion, which 
they plainly faw did belong to this, and could not do 
fo to the other. And thefe Two, they made the Two 
Great Principles or General Heads of Being in the 
Univerfe, and called them by two vaftly different 
Names, as I have before fhewed, viz. the r<$ nrctcr^ov, 
and the rb tfo&v. The one Pajfive Matter or Bulk, 
and the other Self- Activity, or Life. In the former 
of thefe, viz. Faffive Matter ; they found that there 
was nothing Real, befides its Bulk, or impenetrably 
extended Parts : and that confequently all Forms and 
Qualities in Bodies were no real Entities diftincl: 
from the Body in which they inhered, but only the 
Parts of the Body differently modified, difpofed and 
agitated , and therefore they held, that when any 
Body received a new Form or Quality differing from 
what it had before, there was no new Entity pro- 
duced, any more than an old one deftroyed; for 
that they look't upon to be perfectly Impoflible : 
And this was the true Ground of that Fundamen- 
tal Axiom of theirs , That Nothing could he made 
or produced out of Nothing ; which they did not 
(as the Modern Atheifts do) advance at all in 
Oppofition to a Creative and Almighty Power's 
producing all things at firft from Nothing ; but 
purely againft the produciblenefs of real Entities out 
of Nothing, in an Ufual and Natural way : which 
thofe that afiert Forms and Qualities to be Sub- 
ftantial and Real Beings, muft needs grant to be daily 
done. But it was this, and this only, that that 
Axiom was levelled againft. And hence it was that 
they averted the Deity and the Souls of Men to be 

D real 

26 The Atbeifis Obje&ions , againjl the 

real Entities diftincSt from Matter, and not to be pro- 
ducible out of the Power of Matter ; as all Qua- 
lities which are nothing but Modes of it, they main- 
tained , were : and this made them perhaps have 
recourfe to the ir^pvira^ and ju*1ivaajua.roe<TG y the 
Vrce-exiftence and Transmigration of Souls ; for they 
could never believe their Souls were, as one exprefles 
it, younger than their Bodies^ and that they periflied, 
when the Bodies died. And therefore nothing can be 
plainer, than that the very Principles of this Philo- 
fophy did lead Men to the Acknowledgment of In- * 
corporeal Subftances, and forced them to believe Life, 
Motion, and Cogitation to be things that could not 
be Modifications of Matter, nor perifhable and pro- 
ducible, as the common Qualities and Forms of Body 
or extended Bulk are. And thus when it is rightly 
confidered and throughly underftood, the Atomical 
or Mechanical Philofophy is fo far from being any 
way inftrumental to the leading Men into Atheifm, 
that there is none other that doth fo truly diftjnguim 
between Matter and Incorporeal Beings ; none that 
renders the Operations and Qualities of Bodies fo In- 
telligible, and none that prepares fo clear , natural, 
and eafle a way for the Demonflration of Immaterial 
Subflances, as this kind of Philofophy doth. Indeed, 
as almoft all things are, fo this is capable of, and 
hath been made ufe of to ill Purpofes by its Atheiflical 
Votaries ; who did anciently, as they do now, affert 
that Cogitation, Life, Senfation, and Active Power, 
were all producible out of bare Matter without a 
Deity. But as this was what the True Atomifls ne- 
ver could think poflible ; fo it is really involved with 
the moll monftrous Abfurdities that ever any Opi- 

Immaterial Nature ofG o d, &c Refuted. 27 

nion was : and which therefore ought not to be 
charged on the Philofophy it felf, but only on that 
Dark, Unintelligible and Inconfiftent Syflem of 
it, which the Ignorant Atheifts have Compiled ; and 
that only to render it fubiervient to their wicked 
Defigns of excluding the Idea's of God and of Incor- 
poreal Subflances out of the World. Tho' (God be 
thanked) they do in this Point fo far fail of Succefs, 
that nothing can be clearer than that 'tis utterly im- 
poflible to account for any firfl Caufe of things, for 
Cogitation, Life, Senfation, or Motion, according 
to their Principle, that there is no other Subftance 
but Body : And this neceflarily leads me to another 
very good Argument, for the Necefiity of allowing 
Incorporeal Subflances, and to prove that God him- 
felf is of that Nature , or a Spirit , viz. the ftrange 
Alfurdities of the contrary Opinion. 

But thefe being very many, and it being of great 
moment truly to clear up this Point, in an Age 
wherein Men are fb fond of Corporealifm. I fhall 
deferr this till my next Difcourfe : wherein I fhall 
finifli this and my remaining Arguments to Prove 
God to be a Spirit , and that there are Beings of an 
Immaterial and Incorporeal Nature. 

Tfce End of the Fourth Sermon, 

D 2 

C «» 3 


Fifth Sermon. 

John iv. 24. 

God is a Sprit. 

I Have already Ihewn the Meaning and Import of 
thefe Words, and what we underftand by God's 
being a Spirit. I have ihewn you alfo the Atheift s 
Objections againft the Immaterial Nature of 
God, and the Exigence of Incorporeal Subftances ; 
and have endeavoured to Refute them, from Two Ar- 
guments. I have proved, 

1. That 'tis a precarious and unfair way of Ar- 
guing againft the Exiftence of any thing, only be- 
caufe our particular Apprehenfions and Conceptions 
cannot mailer it r And that it will not follow, That 
there is no fuch thing as an Incorporeal Subftance, 
on the Account only of fome Mens declaring that they- 
cannot conceive how any fuch thing can be. Where 
like wife I ihewed, That the Notion of a Spirit, or 
an Immaterial Subilanee, is as Intelligible as that of 
-Body ; and that we have as much reafon to believe 
the Exiftence of the former, as of the latter. 

X I 

go The Atheift's Objections, againji the 

i. I have plainly proved, That the Notion of In- 
corporeal Subflances hath all along been believed and 
received by many Knowing and Judicious Men a- 
mongft the mod Ancient Writers and Philosophers ; 
and confequently that it can neither be Nonfence and 
Impoflible, nor of folate an Criginial as the perverted 
Philofophy of Ariftotle : both which the A tbeifts are 
pleafed to aflert. 

}. I proceed now to fpeak to a Third Argument, 
To prove the Deity to be of a Spiritual or Immaterial 
Nature, and that there are Incorporeal Subflances: 
And this I mall draw from the many and flrange Ab- 
furdities of the contrary Opinion, That there is no- 
thing lut Matter in the World. And if thefe can fully 
be made to appear, I hope the Do&rine involved with 
them will alfo appear falfe and precarious ; and that 
the contrary Opinion, of the Real Exiftence of In- 
corporeal Beings, will find an eafie admittance into 
our Faith. But here I muft premife, as taken for 
granted, That we are all agreed on the Definition of, 
or know what we mean by Matter or Body, viz. That 
it is Subflance Impenetrably extended ; whereby we di- 
flinguifh it from Spirit, which is a Thinking Sub* 
fiance without Corporeal Extenfion, or without 
having Partes extra Partes. For if this be not the 
Notion which our Adverfaries have of it, as well as 
we ; 'Tis in vain to difpute about it at all. If there- 
fore they have any other Idea of it that is different 
from this, let them produce it, and make it as clear 
and Intelligible as this is ; for without doing fo, 
they do nothing to the purpofe. And if they have 
not a clear and diftinA Idea of Matter or Body, 
how come they fo boldly to fay that Matter and Sub- 

Immaterial Nature of Go d, Sec. Refuted. gi 

fiance are all one ? how can they diftinguifh the 
Idea's of Body and Spirit fo plainly, as to be fare 
there can be no fuch thing as an Incorporeal Sub- 
fiance, but that it implies a Contradiction ? Unlefs 
they fully know what Matter or Body is, there may 
be Millions of Varieties and Degrees of Immaterial 
Subftances ; or there may be no fuch thing as Body 
at all, for any thing they can prove to the contrary. 
The Atheift muft then do one of thefe two things ; 
he muft either eftablifh a new Notion of Matter, that 
fhall be fo intelligible and plain, that all Mankind 
fhall as readily acquiefce in it, as they do in the old 
and common one , or elfe he muft refolve to keep to 
That. The former of thefe he hath not yet done, 
nor I believe is very ready to do ; but when he doth 
it, 'twill be time enough to confider it. In the 
mean while, I will readily join Iftiie with him, on the 
common and received Notion of Body : And from 
thence undertake to maintain , That nothing is 
more abfurd and unaccountable than their Aflertion, 
That there is no other Subftance hut Matter or Body in 
the World. For, 

Firft , Had there been nothing elfe but Matter 
in the World from Eternity (and if there be nothing 
elfe now, there never was any thing elfe) I cannot 
poflibly fee how thefe Gentlemen can account for Mo- 
tion, 0) or fhew us how Matter came firft to be 0) n& <*=> 
moved. And Matter without Motion fure could d < ^ /S> i ^' A 
never be God, never be the Caufe of any thing, nor ««^m. vii 
could it ever produce, a£t, or do any thing whatever. Dio & ^ w/ « 
Before Motion began, Matter could have been no- 
thing but an heavy, lifelefs Lump of vaft extended 
Bulk ; which muft have lain alfb for ever in the fame 


5 2 The Atheifis Obje&zons , againjl the 

dead and unaclive Pofition, if nothing had been fuper- 
induced to put it into Motion and Action. And no 
one (lire can be fo ftupid as to call this a Deity ! This 
is as Mr. Blount rudely and irreverently expreffeth 
(a) 0wd« 0/ himfelf, worfe than to fuppofe (tf) a Hum-Drum- 
,*;; ' p ' 12 ' Deity, chewing of his own Nature ; a Droning God, that 
fits hoarding up of his Providence from his Creatures. 
And this even he can't but acknowledge, is an Atheifm 
no lefs Irrational, than to deny the very Effence of a 
Divine Being. I hope therefore they will grant, 
that Matter without Motion cannot be fuppos'd'to 
be a Deity. And if fo, then the Divine Nature 
(whatever it be) mud be fomething dijlintl from, and 
more Nolle than Matter, and more akin to Motion, 
than to Matter or Body in general, or to it quatenus 
Matter, as the Schools fpeak. And indeed, Motion 
taken in this fenfe, not for a tranflation of Body from 
one place to another, but for tho Active Caufe of 
Motion, may be very well faid to be Incorporeal, 
or the Deity it felf. But how came this Motion into 
Matter at firfh ? and which way did Matter attain this 
Divine Activity, or God-like Energy > Here they 
muft affert one of thefe three things, either, 1. That 
Motion came into Matter from fomething without 
it, and diftincl: from it. Or, 2. That Motion is 
Eflential to Matter, and Co-eternal with it. Or, 
3. That it came into it afterwards by Chance, or 
without any Caufe at all. The Firft of thefe they 
will not fay, I doubt, becaufe it's Truth : but how- 
ever, if they do, our Controverfie is at an end ; for 
we believe that 'twas a Divine and powerful Mind, 
perfectly diflincSt from, and more Noble than Matter, 
who firft made it, and moved it, and doth flill con- 

Immaterial Nature ofQ o d, &c. Refuted. 3 3 

tinue to modifie and difpofe it according to his Infi- 
nite Wifdom and Providence. 

And one would think no Man can be fo fenfelefs as 
to maintain the Iaft, viz. That Motion came into Matter 
without any Caufe at a!!, and that it was Chance only 
that firfl produced it ; for Chance here fignifies no- 
thing in reality : And truly, Men that will befo ridi- 
culoufly abfurd as to affert, that a Body, or Particle 
of Matter, that is once at reft, may move by Chance 
only, or may Chance to move of it f elf , though there 
be nothing to caufe its Motion, deferve no ferious 
Refutation, but ought to be treated only as we do 
Fools and Madmen, with filent Pity and Companion. 
And yet fo very fond are fome Perlbns of any thing 
that oppofes Truth, that they will run into the 
greatefl Abfurdities to maintain it. For a late Cor- 
porealift is pleas'd to fay, 0) That Matter can move C a ) Obferv. on 
of it [elf : and to fhew his deep Skill in Philofophy, he s/rm.^Vf;. 
tells us, that Wind, Fire, and 'very fine-fifted fmall Dufi, 
are Matter, and yet Self movers. And of Wind and 
Fire, he profoundly aflerts, That they cannot lofe their 
Motion, or ceafe Moving, fo long as they continue to be 
Wind and Fire. That is, As long as Wind and Fire 
are in Motion, they cannot ceale to move. This, 
indeed, is a very deep and important Difcovery \ 
But yet 'tis what hardly any Man would have pub- 
lim'd in Print, but one that concludes a Body mud 
needs move of it fe!f,onIy becaufe he can't fee with his 
Eyes the Caufe or Origin of its Motion. And yet 
even this he may often fee in the cafe of Fire, if he 
will but vouchfafe to obferve how 'tis ufually kindled. 
A little Confederation would have fatisfled him alfb, 
that Winds may be produced in the Atmofphere, by 

E the 

34 The Atheifis ObjeBions , againjl the 

the Air's being moved fome way, by Heat, Com- 
prefTion, or fome other Accidental Caufe, as well as 
in an Eolipile, or a Pair of Bellows. And as for his 
fine Duffs rifing up in a Cloud of it felf; had he under- 
ftood that the Agitation of any Fluid will keep the 
fmali Particles of any heavier Matter mixed with it 
from defcending to the bottom of it, nay, and raife 
them up from thence too ; and had he not forgotten 
that this was the cafe here, (the Air being fo agitated 
by the Motion of Sifting) he would not, fare, have 
been fo filly as to have brought thefe as Inftances of 
Spontaneous Motion in Matter. But however, he is 
not the firft that hath been guilty of this Abfurdity. 
(a) Metapb. p or j r jfi ot / e upbraids fome, in his time, 0) with in- 
troducing Motion into Matter, without any Caufe, or with- 
out fuppofing any Principle whence it mould proceed. 
The Second Point therefore, is, I fuppofe, that 
which our Corporealift will adhere to, viz. That Mo- 
tion is Effential to,and Co-eternal with Matter ; and that 
either all Matter and Motion taken together, or elfe 
fome Fine and Subtile Parts of it are the Deity. But this, 
if it be throughly confidered, will appear almoft as ab- 
furd and unaccountable as that Matter mould be mo- 
ved without any Caufe at all. For, in the firft place, 
'tis plain, That Motion is not Effentially included in the 
Idea of Matter. I can conceive Matter to the full as 
well, if not better, when it is at reft, as when it is 
in Motion. When I look on any Body, or confider 
any determinate quantity of Matter, I can conceive 
that 'tis a Subftance that is impenetrably extended, 
divifible, and moveable ; that it fills up fuch a 
fpace, and that it excludes any Body from being there 
With it at the lame time, without conceiving it to be 


Immaterial Nature o/Goe^ jkc. Refuted, 3 5 

in Motion at all ; much Jefs being forced to ac- 
knowledge that it muft he, and was always in Mo- 
tion. Whereas certainly, if Motion were as Ejfential to 
Matter, as Impenetrability and Extenjion, 'twere as 
impofiible for me to conceive it at red, as it is to 
conceive it without thofe Qualifications or Proper- 
ties : But no doubt I have as true an Idea of a 
Stone or a Bullet, or of any other Body or Part of 
Matter, when it lies ftill on the Ground, as I have of 
it when 'tis projected from a Sling or a Gun. Now 
if Motion be not Ellentially included in the Idea or 
Notion that we have of Matter, how can any one 
fuppofe it as EfTential to, and Co-eternal with it ? 
This is a Conclufion beyond the power of our Reafon 
to make ; no one can come 10 it naturally, and in the 
ordinary way of Apprehending and Reasoning ; and 
'tis much more Unintelligible and Myfterious than a 
great many other things which they pretend they 
cannot believe purely on this account. 

But fuppofing that Motion he Ejfential to Matter ; 
it mud then be Co to every Particle of it, and that 
Uniformly alike, or in the fame Proportion. And 
if fo, then every Atom of Matter muft always re- 
tain its Original Degree of Motion or Velocity, and 
can never poflibly be deprived of it : For no Acci- 
dental Caufe can any way either encreafe or diminifh, 
promote or hinder the Eilential Properties of a Being. 
Thus, for Inftance, take a Particle of Matter, or any 
Body whatever, and move it as faft or as flow as 
you pleafe, place it where or how you pleafe, fepa- 
rate it from other Particles or Bodies, or combine it 
with them ; ft ill 'twill retain its Eflential Properties 
of Extenfton and Impenetrability, and they will receive 

E 2 no 

36 The Atheifis Objection j , againjl the 

no Intenfwn and Remijjion all this while. But now 
'tis quite otherwife in the cafe of Motion ,• we find 
the feme Body may be brought to move fometimes 
fader, fometimes flower, and fometimes (to all ap- 
pearance) be reduced to abfolute reft ; which could 
never be, if Motion were Eflential to each Particle of 
Matter, in fuch a Determinate Degree of Velocity, 
and there were (as is now fuppofedj Nothing elfe 
without or diftinfl from Matter to put it into Motion. 
For then nothing could ever accelerate or retard its 
Motion : no one Body could ever move fafter or 
flower than another. But o. Snail or the Pigritia would 
keep pace with the feemingly Inftantaneous irradia- 
tions of Light. 

And thus we may fee plainly, that without fuppo- 
fing fome Principle of Motion diftincl: from Matter, 
Motion could never have come into it, nor have 
been co-eternal with it. 

But allowing them that Motion mould get into Mat- 
ter neither they nor we know how, or that it is Eternal 
and Eflential to it : If there be nothing elfe but Matter 
and Motion in the Univerfe , which way will they 
account for the Deity ? they dare not fay Matter 
alone without Motion can be God ; and I think there 
can be nothing more clear, than that Bare Motion in 
Matter can never make a Deity. For if Motion came 
into Matter any time after its Exiftence, the Deity 
mult then be produced, and confequently receive a 
Beginning ; and fo the Firft Caufe of all things mufl 
be caufed himfelf after all things, which is contradi- 
ctory to the Notion of a Deity. 

If they fay that Motion is Co-eternal with, and Ef- 
fential to Matter, and the Deity be Matter thus Eter- 

Immaterial Nature o/God, &c. Refuted. g 7 

nally moved ; then either every Particle of Matter 
muft be eflentially God, or elfe he mufl be the refult 
of the whole, or of fome Parts of Matter combined 
together. If the former be afierted , there mufl: of 
neceility be as many Gods as there are Atoms or 
Phyfical Monads : for each of them are Individually 
diftinft from each other, and have their feparate and 
peculiar Properties of Impenetrability, Extenfionand 
Motion ; which in this fine Hypothefis, are the only 
Perfections of the Divine Nature. But no doubt they 
will fay, that 'tis not any one Particle of Matter that 
is a God alone, and therefore they cannot be all Dei- 
ties fingly ; But 'tis all of tbem y or at leait a goo J con- 
venient Number of thefe luckily combined together, 
out of whom the Deity is compofed. Though which 
of thefe to Hick to, our Corporealifts are very much 
at a lofs ; Spinoza averting the former, and Mr. Holhs 
the latter. But I think 'tis no great matter which 
they adhere to ; for both are alike unaccountable 
and abfurd : For if there be not a Divine Nature, 
and its Perfedions, in each fingle Atom of Matter ; 
will barely combining fome, or all of them, toge- 
ther make a Deity of them ? Can it ever enter into 
the Heart of Man to conceive that barely collecting 
together a parcel of roving Particles of Matter, fuch 
as agitated Duft, or Motes moving up and down in 
the Sun, will ever unite them into a God ? give the 
Combination Almighty Pow T er, Wifdom, and Good- 
nefs ? when there was nothing like this before in any 
of the Atoms themfelves ? Certainly, Men that can 
aflert fuch monftrous Opinions as thefe, do not think 
as other People do ; or, indeed, rather do not think 
at all. Thefe certainly labour under the Difeafe men- 

^ 8 The Atheijt *s Objections, againft the 

tioned by Epittetus, of a7roA/3awis or duovUo-jeau; ra 
00 Arrhr., vo/\1ikS, (a) zftony Infenfibility or Deadnefs of Under- 
lib. i. c. 5 . /landing, by which they are befotted and flupified in 
their Intellectuals ; fo that they can believe and aflert 
any thing, if it be fubfervient to their deflgns, tho* 
never fo contradictory to the cleared light of Reafon 
and Truth. 

But to go on : Granting to the Corporealifts that 
Matter either hath been always in Motion , or for 
what time they pleafe ; allowing its Particles to be 
fmall or great , to move fwiftly or Jlowly, and to be 
combined together , or disjoined from each other as 
they think fit. I enquire what all this will flgnifie 
towards producing of Cogitation, Wifdom, and Vnder- 
/landing ( or to the production of Life, Self Activity, 
or Spontaneous Power ? And yet Thefe are the moll 
Great and Noble Things in the World ; thefe are the 
higheft Perfections of the Divine Nature , and in 
thefe we place the Eflence of the Deity. 

Now here Matter and Motion is more than ever at 
a lofs ; and I think it demonstratively certain that it 
cannot account for thefe things. Ariftotle did very 
truly find fault with the Corporealifts of his Time, 
that they did not, as ours cannot now, aflign 3 s iv 
(b) Lib* i. % xolAvs auliaufj (b) any Caufe of well and fit ; any 
Mewph. c. 3. Origin of, or Reafon for that Wifdom and Regularity, 
that harmonious Relation and Aptitude of one part of 
the Creation to another, which is fo very confpicuous 
in all things ; fuppofmg that there is nothing in Na- 
ture but Matter and Motion. And it is mod cer- 
tainly true, that the Idea which we have of Body 
doth not neceflarily include Cogitation in it, nor our 
Notion of Cogitation include Body : but they are 


Immaterial Nature ofGoD, Sec. Refuted. 3 9 

two as diftindt Idea's as any we have. So far are 
they from being the fame thing, that we cannot pof- 
ftbly conceive Cogitation with Extenfion. No Man 
ever conceived a Thought to be Co many Inches or 
Yards long \ to be deep, thick or broad, to be divisible 
into two or more Parts, or to have any Kind of Fi- 
gure or determinate Pofition or Extenfion ; whereas 
if whatfoever be unextended, or not Body, be abfo- 
lutely Nothing , as thefe Gentlemen allert : Cogita- 
tion, Wilclom, Underftanding, and Spontaneous Power 
muft be nothing : or elfe they muft be figurate 
Bodies-, than which nothing can be more abfurd. 
And if we farther examine our own Mind, and con- 
fult our own Reafon, we fhall find that we cannot 
pofTibly conceive how thinking, Wifdom, Confciouf- 
nefs, and Spontaneous Power can pofTibly be the re- 
fult of Bare Motion of the Parts of Matter. Was 
there ever any one that ferioufly believed a Particle 
of Matter was any Wifer or had any more Under- 
ftanding for being moved than it was before when 
it lay ft ill ? for Jet it be never fo briskly agitated, is 
it not ftili Body I there is no other Idea arileth from 
hence , but only that it changeth its place, and is 
united fucceflively to feveral parts of fpace, that it 
will move fuch other Particles of Matter as 'tis ca- 
pable of, and be retarded in its Motion by hitting 
or ftriking againft them ; thefe, and fuch like, are 
all the Ideas that we can have of a Body in Motion ; 
but what is this to Thought and Confcioufnefs ? Did 
ever any one but a ftupid Corporealift imagine that a 
Particle of Matter by being moved, was made Intel- 
ligent ? and that its travelling from place to place, 
made it underftand all things in its way > and did 


4<d The Atheijfs Obje&ions , agtinfl the 

any one ever think that the Knowledge of fucha 
rambling Atom encreafed in Proportion to the velo- 
city of its Motion ? Yes, doubtleis ! and thus a Bul- 
let difcharged from the Mouth of a Cannon, ought 
to be look'd upon as one of the mod Ingenious Be- 
ings in Nature. And hence it will follow, that the 
more haft any one makes to tumble over Books, or 
to ramble over Countries ; and the more precipitantly 
he makes a judgment of Notions or Opinions, the 
Better Account he can give of Authors and Places ; 
and the more folid and fubftantial will be his Learning. 
This, indeed, is the beft Account that can be given 
of the finenefs and quicknefs of Thought, xhzxforne 
Men fo much pretend to ; for this way they may 
come by a vaft fhare of Penetration, and be vola- 
tilized far above the dull ftudious and confiderate 
Vulgar : and the Event fhews that they frequently 
make ufe of the Experiment. 

But again ; As we cannot poftibly conceive that 
the Motion of one Particle of Matter alone, can give it 
Knowledge and Underftanding ; (6 neither can we 
fuppofe that a Body compofed of many of them y can ac- 
quire any fuch thing barely on the Account of the 
Motion or Agitation of its Parts, for Motion only 
will do no more to the whole, than it did to each 
one fingly ; and 'tis not conceivable that Three, or 
Three Millions of Bullets will be any wifer for being 
difcharged together, than if they w T ere all fhot ftngly 
in purfuit-of. Underftanding. Nor can any happy 
Combination or Confiitution of Parts avail any thing 
in this Cafe, any more than Motion ; nor can that 
be erledtual to fuper-induce Wifdom and Under/landing 
into Matter. The ofi/A* Ast^o/^^ will be no more 

a God, 

Immaterial Nature ofGoD y Sec, Refuted, 

a God, than Jupiter s Log n> as among the Frogs, nor 
than the moft denfe and grofs body in Nature. For 
after all the various Pofitions , Configurations, and 
Combinations of Matter, is it not Matter ftill ? will 
rarefying or fubtilizing of Matter change its Nature 
and Eflential Properties ? A Rare Body is nothing but 
a contexture of fine and fubtile Particles, which be- 
ing feparated farther aiunder than is. ufual , are alio 
perhaps more briskly agitated and moved. And pray 
what is here new ? what will this do towards Divi- 
nity ? will bare Figure and Pofition of Parts change 
the Nature of thofe Parts, and give them Cogitation 
and Knowledge when they had no fuch thing fingly 
and before ? will adding, Subtracting, multiplying or 
dividing of Numbers, make them any thing ehe more 
Noble than what they were before? will not the 
Summs , Remainders, Frodutts , or Quotients be flill 
Figures and Numbers like the firft Digits, out of 
which thefe do by Combination or various Pofitions 
arife ? and is it not juft fo with Matter ? will a Par- 
ticle of it be made any more Wife and Intelligent, for 
being render'd fmaller than it was before ? and hath 
a little Particle more Senfe than a larger ? will Three 
or Four, or Four Millions of thefe be more ingenious 
than a Body or Lump that is as big as them all ? 
and will moving a few Atoms a good diftance from 
each other, Separate them into Knowledge, and Dif- 
join them into an Undemanding Power which none 
of them had before ? If Men can fwallow fuch things 
as theie, and think at this Extravagant and Unac~ 
countable Rate ; I fear all good Arguments and found 
Reafon will be loft upon them , and they ought 
to be negleded as downright Stupid or Diftracled. 

F And 

42 The Atheifk's ObjeSlions , againjl the 

And yet thefe, and fuch like Abfurdities, mull be the 
Natural Confequences of fuppofing Matter and Mo- 
tion alone capable of thinking , that Matter can be 
rarified into a Deity, and that Divine and Almighty 
Wifdom, Knowledge, Goodnefs and Power, are the re- 
fult of Body luckily difpofed and moved ; which yet 
was the Opinion of Hobbs, and is ftill of many of 
his Admirers and Followers. For notwithstanding 
thole Excellent Demonftrations that many Learned 

(a) Dr. cud- Men ( a ) amongft us have eftablifhed, that Mat- 
^dothSi ter . and Motion cannot poflibly produce Cogi- 
tation, Confcioulheis, Underflanding and Liberty 
of Will : There is lately an Ignorant Corporealift 

(b) obferva- who aflerts, That the Inflamed and glowing Particles. 
£fe°s <£- °f the Blo °^ called Spirits, thd they are not in them- 
raon, p. 10. /elves Sentient and Intelligent, are yet the aclive Prin- 
ciple of Life and Motion, of Senfe and Underflanding 
in Man and Be aft ; and do aft the Underflanding or 
Brain to apprehend, judge and remember. Now by 
this 'tis plain that he fuppofes Cogitation, Under- 
Handing, Confcioufnefs and Liberty, and all the Fa- 
culties of the Soul of Man to be nothing but the 
refult of fome peculiar Motions in a Fitly organized 
Body. The Animal Spirits he thinks are like the 
Eiaftick Particles in the Spring of a Watch, tho' 
they cannot tell what a Clock it is themfelves, yet 
they can by means of the Spring which they actuate, 
do that and many other things that the Movement 
lhall be fitted for : Or to make ufe of a Companion 
of his own ; The Animal Spirits may do as the Wind 
doth in the Cheft of an Organ, tho' it can make no 
Mufickof it (elf , yet by being communicated fo as 
to infpire the feveral Pipes, it may actuate them into 
a very fine Harmony. It 

Immaterial Nature o/God, &c. Refuted. 43 

If is not my Bufinefs nor Design to difcourfe here 
of the Soul of Man : but yet I would fain beg thefe 
Corporealifts clearly to explain , how Self-Confciouf- 
nefs, Reflection, and Liherty of Ad ion can poflibly be 
accounted for by this Hypothecs. For this neceila- 
rily makes Menmeer Machines at long run. An En- 
gine is never the more free and confcious to its felf 
of its own Operations for being fine and curiouily 
contrived : And the wonderful Clock at Strasburgb 
knows no more what it doth, nor is it any more the 
Spontaneous Caufe of its fo many and curious Motions, 
than the Ancient Clepfydra, or a modern Hour-glafs 
knoweth what it is about, when it rudely meafureth 
the Duration of any Part of Time. For whatever is 
performed by meer Matter and Motion muffc needs 
be neceflary in every flep and degree of its courfe, 
be the way of acting in the Engine never fo curious, 
and never fo remote from the cognifance of our 
Senfes. They know well enough, as I fhall fliew be- 
low, that there is no pofiible room for freedom of 
A&ion, Confcioufnefs of any Operation , nor for a 
Cogitative and Reafoning Power, according to this 
way of explicating the Operations of the Humane 
Soul. For in the Animal Spirits they grant there is 
no fuch thing ; they are only a fiery and briskly agi- 
tated Fluid, which lerves to actuate any Part of the 
Rational Machine pro re nata : And thefe feveral 
Parts or Organs of the Machine can no more produce 
any fuch thing without the Animal Spirits, than the 
Hand or Dial-Plate of a Watch can, or any other Part 
of a curious Inilrument. If therefore you enquire of 
them, wherein they place this Cogitation, Self-Con- 
icioufnefs and Liberty ; they will tell you 'tis in the 

F 2. Ma*) 

44 the Atheifis ObjeSiiotif , againfl the 

Man, 'tis in the whole ; 'tis neither his Soul alone^ nor 
his Body alone ; 'tis no Spiritual Subftance diflincT: 
from Matter, but 'tis the whole Man that thinks, rea- 
fons, and acls freely by the form of the whole : But 
this is very unaccountable,and is what neither they nor 
any one el(e,I believe, can ever apprehend or conceive ; 
that Liberty fhould be the refult of Necejfarily moved 
Matter ; that Cogitation fhould arife from Senfelefs 
and Unthinking Atoms, and that Knowledge and Con- 
fcioufnefs of its own Operations mould come into any 
Engine by its being finely and curioufly contrived, 
and be nothing but the neceflary refult of bare local 
Motion, and rightly Organized Matter. 

Thefe Abfurdities fome other Corporealifts clear- 
ly perceiving, and being fully convinced that 'tis 
impofTible to account for Cogitation, Confcioufl 
.nefs, and the like, from bare Matter and Motion ; and 
to educe the Perfections of the Deity out of the 
Power of Matter only. Thefe, I fay, had recourfe 
to another way of maintaining their beloved Afler- 
tion, that there is no other Subftance but Body. They 
aflert, that Cogitation is EJfential to Matter : or, 
as Spinoza words it, All Subftance is effentially Cogi- 
tative and Extended ; fo that as there is no Subftance 
but what is Material , fo there is none but w hat is 
Cogitative too. Indeed, as I fhewed you before, he 
after ts that there is but One only Subftance, which is 
God, or in other words, Univerfal Matter ; and Cogi- 
tation and Extenfion (he faith) are the two Infinite 
Attributes, or elfe the Affetlions of the Attributes of 
(a) op.Pojl- the Deity {a). And this, with a great deal of Aflu- 
bum.^.i 2.&14. ranee (as the way of thefe Writers is) he pretends to 
demonftrate Mathematically, by a Pompous, tho' a 
very Obfcure, Apparatus of Definitions, Axioms, To- 


Immaterial "Nature of G o d, &c. Rje fitted. 45 

ftulates and Propofitions. But it is not calling a tiling 
a Demonflration, that will make it to he fo ; nor con- 
cluding with Quod erat Demonftrandum, that will make 
every body acquiefce in a Propofition, when it is 
either perfectly unintelligible or falfe. And yet luch 
are thofe that Spinoza brings to prove and fupport 
this ftrange Opinion. The Monftrous Abfurdities 
of which, I mail now confider. 

And Firfl, 'Tis plain, That if Cogitation be as 
Eflential to Matter as Extenfion ; Then all and every 
Particle of it muft needs be a Thinking Suhftance or 
Body by it felf, Difiinci from all Other Particles of 
Matter in the World. There is no one doubts but 'tis 
fo, in reference to the proper and allowed Affections 
of Body, Impenetrability and Extenfion. Every leafl 
Particle or Atom of Matter hath thefe Properties as 
compleat within it felf, as they are in the whole 
Bulk of the Univerfe, or in any larger Body what- 
foever : Thefe are alfo individually diftinet in each 
Particle ; fo that its Properties, though of the fame 
kind, are not the very fame with thofe of other Parts 
of Matter. Now if to each fuch Particle of Matter 
Cogitation be alio added ; then every Atom in 
the Univerfe will be a Thinking, Intelligent and Rea- 
foning Being, difiinci; from all the reft, and have its 
own proper and peculiar Faculties and Operations ; 
'twill be a different Perfon from all Others ,* and every 
Individual Particle of Matter will be fo from it, and 
from every one elfe in the World. Every Atom alfo 
will be equal to any of the reft, in refpecl: of this 
Cogitative Power ; will have it in the very fame Pro- 
portion, and not be wifer or more foolifh, duller or 
more ingenious than its neighbours. And if this be 


46 The Atbeifts Objections, againft the 

fo (as it mufl neceflarily be, if all Matter be Eflen- 
tially Cogitative) then there mud either be no God at 
-all, or eKe every Particle of Matter mud be a didinct 
God by it felf ; and fo the molt ridiculous Polytheifm 
that ever was imagined, mufl be introduced and al- 
lowed or. For if there be any fuch things asFerfett 
Knowledge, Tower, Wifdom and Goodnefs, every one of 
thefe Particles mud have it : For 'tis impoilible Infinite 
or Perfect Power, Wifdom, Knowledge and Good- 
nefs, can be produced out of finite • the lefler can 
never produce the greater, nor any thing make or 
give that which it hath not within it felf : And there- 
- fore it plainly follows!} that either there is no Deity 
at all, or elfe that every Particle of Matter muft be a 
God by it felf, according to this Hypothecs. For 
finite or imperfect Cogitation can no more be the 
Caufe of Infinite, than Cogitation can arife from inco- 
gitative Matter. And this Spinoza faw very well ; 
and therefore he aflerts all Cogitation, as well as all 

(*) op. Poft. Subflance, to be Infinite (a). Indeed, to avoid this 

" abominable Abfurdity of each Particle of Matter s 

heing God by it felf '; he faith, that there is but one only 

(b) lb. p. 12. Subflance in Nature, and that this is God (£.) But this 
will not help him out, nor do him much fervice in 
defending him from the horrid Abfurdities of this 
Notion. For if by Subflance, he mean only Subflance 
in general, or the Idea that we have of fome Sub- 
ftratum, Support or Subjecl of Inhefion'm which we con- 
ceive the Properties and Accidents of Real Beings to 
inhere ; as by his Definition of Subflance he feems to 
imply ; 'Tis plain, this is only a Metaphyseal Notion, 
only a general Word or Term that ferves to denote 
our conception of fomething in a Being that doth not 


Immaterial Nature of Go d ,&:<:. Refuted, 47 

depend upon the Properties of it, nor inhere in them, 
but they upon and in it. But we can have no Notion 
of Subftance exifting without any Properties, any more 
than of Properties without it. If therefore he mean 
that God is fuch a Subftance as this, that God is the 
Term or Idea of Subftance in general, he makes the 
Deity nothing at all but a meer Name, a meer 
Ens Rationis, or Creature of the Brain only ; than 
which nothing can be more ridiculous and fboliih. 
For 'tis the Attributes or Properties or the Deity that 
we chiefly contend for, and which we are chiefly 
obliged to Acknowledge and Reverence ; and 'tis 
Thefe that we aflert mud be inherent in an Infinite and 
Immaterial Subftance, or Spirit. But if by there be- 
ing but one only Subftance, which he faith is God, 
Spinoza means, that the Deity is the- whole Mais of 
Beings or of Matter in the Univerfe, as by what he 
delivers in many places, I do really believe that he 
did ; for he aflerts, that all Corporeal Subftance is Infi- 
nite and One (c) ; and that Extenfion and Cogitation (0 lb. p. 14. 
are the Attributes, or the Affeclions of the Attributes of 
God, as I hinted before. I fay, if this be his Opinion, 
there cannot poiTibly be a more unaccountable, abfurd 
and impollible Notion of God advanced. And 'tis alio 
abfolutely inconfiftent and contradictious with what 
he doth at other times aflert. For if Subftance, Matter, 
and God, fignifie all the fame thing, and all Matter 
be Effentially Cogitative, as fuch ; Then 'tis plain, as 
I have fhewed already, that God cannot be the whole 
Matter of the Univerfe, but each Particle of Matter 
will be a God by it felf. For if there be any fuch 
thing as Infinite Perfection, it muft be EflentiaiJy in 
every Particle of Matter ; otherwife Infinite Perfection 


48 The Atheiftts ObjeStions , again ft the 

may arife out of what is only Finite, which is im- 
poffible. And if every Particle of Matter have this 
Infinite Perfection, the whole Mafs of thefe, Col- 
lectively confidered, will be by no means One God, 
or One Being, Infinitely Perfect, but a Swarm of In- 
numerable Deities, every one of which will be Per- 
fonaliy diftincl: from each other, and yet contain all 
pofTible Perfection in it felf. But allowing- him all the 
Collective Ma(s of Beings, or the Univerfe to be God ; 
What a ftrange kind of a Deity would this make ? The 
Divine Nature muft then neceilarily be Divi/ible, 
part of it here^ndf^t there ; part of it in Motion, and 
part of it at Reft ; part of it Hot, and part Cold ; 
part Fire y and part Water ; and, in a word, fubjecl: 
to all manner of Imperfections, Vicijfitudes, Changes, 
Contrarieties and Alterations that can be imagined. 
But this the common Senfe of all Mankind will abhorr 
and deteft to be fpoken of the Deity : and befides, 
'tis contrary to what Spinoza aflerts in other places, 
(&) ib. pi 11. where he faith Subftance is Indivifille (J). But how 
there can be but One Only Subftance, and that the Mat- 
ter of the Univerfe ; and how this Subftance can be 
Indivifihle, when yet each Particle of Matter mud 
be a diftinft Subftance by it felf, and is divifible, and 
divided from all others, as our Reafon and our Senfes 
do every day inform us, is a flight of Metaphyficks 
above my Underftanding, and can, I believe, never be 
conceived by any one that underftands the meaning 
of the Words or Terms fuch an Opinion fhall be de- 
livered in. But he indeed that doth not, and that 
will admire lofty and infignificant Sounds, without 
Senfe, or he that hath fome wicked and bale Defign 
to cover under fuch Cant, may conceive any thing, 
or at leaft fay that he doth Co. The 

Immaterial Nature ofG o d, &c. Refitted* a 9 

The Operations and Actions alfo of a Corporeal 
Deity (were it poffible there mould be fuch an one) 
mull be all abfolutely Neceflary , and determined by 
pure Phyfical and Mechanical Fatality. For he would 
be really and truly Natura Naturata, only the bare 
Refult of Motion in Matter, as 'tis variouily formed, 
figured, moved and difpofed Co as to produce any 
Natural Effect. And this, I doubt not but fome of 
thefe Corporeal ills very well underftand ; and that is 
the reafon that makes them fo very fond of the No- 
tion of a Corporeal Deity, and of ailerting, That 
there is nothing in the World but Body : For then 
they know very well, that there can be nothing but 
tfAww) dvdym in Nature, fuch a Phyfical Neceffity as 
will perfectly exclude all Freedom and Liberty of Will 
amongft Men,and confequently deftroy all Notions of, 
and Diftinctions between Good and Evil. They don't 
care to fay plainly there is no God, that looks a little 
too bare-faced : for Atheifm is a Name they don't 
love to take. But they will readily and ftudioufly 
endeavour to advance fuch an Account and Notion of 
a Deity as ihall do as well ; fuch an one as they know 
is in effect the fame as to fay there is no God at all. 
And this the representing him as Corporeal, will 
effectually do ; for this fubjects Him to a Phyfical 
Neceffity, makes Him nothing at all but Nature, and 
deprives both Him and us of the Noble Principle of 
Freedom of Will : and then they know that there can 
be no fuch things as Rewards and Punifhments pro- 
portionate to Mens Action* ; but that all things are 
alike, without any diftinction of Good and Evil, and 
confequently that they may do any thing that they 
have a mind to. And this appears to be the Iflue that 

G they 

5 o The Atbeifls Objections , again ji the 

they would willingly bring all things to ; For if this 
were not the cafe , what Reafon can be given why 
Men fhould be fuch zealous Sticklers for a Corporeal 
Deity ? Why fhould they (till, in fpite of Senfe, 
Reafon and Philofophy, maintain, That there can be 
no fuch thing as an Incorporeal or Immaterial Sub- 
ftance ? Is it purely out of a devout and holy Defire to 
underftand the Divine Nature more clearly,in order to 
fpeak of him more properly, to adore him more re- 
Jigioufly, and obey him more heartily ? I fear, not : 
For if Matter and Motion can Think, and (as they 
fay) the Properties or Attributes of God can be ac- 
countable that way, and there be really and truly a 
Wife, Powerful, Juft and Good God, though Cor- 
poreal ; why fhould not thefe Gentlemen look upon 
themfelves obliged to obey fuch a God, as well as a 
Spiritual one ? Why do they quarrel with, and call 
off his Holy Word, and reject and defpife his Re- 
vealed Will > Is not a Corporeal Deity (according 
to their Notion) truly a Being endowed with all 
pollible Perfections. Is not He the Firfi: Caufe, Maker 
and Prefer ver of all Things ? and confequently is not 
He as fit and worthy to be worfhipped as w 7 ell as a 
Spiritual One ? and cannot fuch a Deity acquaint 
his Creatures how he will be worfhipped and ferved ? 
cannot He Rew T ard them for fo doing, and Punifh 
them for offending againft Him, equally as if He 
were Incorporeal ? If he cannot, indeed, then there 
is fomething more than bare Speculation in the 
cafe, and there mud be fome fubflantial Reafon why 
Deijis and Aniifcripturifts are always Corporeal ills. 
And this is the truth of the Matter ,• the God of 
the Corporealifls is not the True Deity, whatever 


Immaterial Nature of God, Sec. Refuted. 5 1 

they may pretend, but a blind, ftupid, fenfelefs Idol, 

that hath nothing but the Name of God wickedly 

applied to it. 'Tis only Nature or a Tlaflick Power 

in Nature, the whole mafs of, or fome fine , fubtile 

and active Parts of Matter in rapid 

Motion,without any Under (landing (a) ^^StifffSJ^ 

Wljdom, Or • Dejlgn , Without Liberty Oj qua in nobii nihil almdfunt quam 

Will or freedom of Aftion ; but Pivyfi- M&**?'* r ^u* extern* organx 

11 jAf t • n -NT rr 11 premenribut anrmi TumuUu*. non 

cally and Mechanically Need Jary in all e ft putandum aiiquid tale accidete 
its Operations. Their God is o&h(5k, Deo * ^fo*fc de civ. c. xv. §. I4 . 

, ' ,' V ~ ^ ~ 7T J , ali °' Zet/ "^- C -5I- P- 190. 

aTro^^feteiv ^ T&) QiJo , as Herodotus 
fpeaks, he is the Servant of Neceffity, and cannot poffibly 
himfelf avoid the deflined fate. And to be lure, if 
God be not a free Agent, Nothing cJfe can : for all 
things flowing from him by an inevitable Neceffity (b), rp) Omnia u- 
or being Tarts of Him, as Spinoza afTerts, they muft evitabUi »«*/. 
be under the fame Neceffity with the Deity, and he^'VfL^ 
faith plainly, That every thing that is determined to ft'tll! 0}"$. 
Operate, is fo determined necejfarily by Cod, and could V'. 4 53- Wd* 
not aft at all if God did not thus necejfarily determine "%,*$ &c 4 ' 
it (c). That the Will of Man cannot be called free, r c ] ' Po , } 
but is only a neceffary Caufe (d). And in another p. 24. 
place 0) he tells us \>hin\y, that there are nofuch things y) p - 28 « 
as final. Caufe s in Nature, they being only the Ignorant ' 5 ' 
Figments of Mankind ; but that all things are Governed \ 
by Abfolute Neceffity. A while after this, (f) he(f)P*37> 
afferts Man to be a meer Machine, and faith, that 'tis \ 

only thofe who are Ignorant of Caufes that fay he was 
thus finely formed by any Art or Defign ; or who attri- 
bute his Qompofition to any Supernatural Wifdom. And 
then at I a ft he comes to the great Point on which all 
this Philofophy turns ; I which is, That Good and Evil 


52 The AtheiJVs Obje&ions^ 8tc. 

are not by Nature ; but that the Notions of them came 
only from Mens miftaken Opinion, that all things mere 
made for them ; and who therefore call that Good which 
is agreeable to their Fancy, and that Evil which is con- 
trary to it. By which fhort Connexion of their Opi- 
nions, 'tis clear enough why Spinoza was a Corpo- 
realifl , as alfo why Mr. Hobbs advanced the fame 
Notions. And I doubt thofe that Efpoufe the fame 
Opinions now adays,know too well the Confluences 
of them. 

But of the Precarioufnefs of thefe Notions,' I mud 
fay no more now ; defigning particularly to confute 
them hereafter, as they are made Objections againft 
the Truth, and Obligation of Religion in general. 



REmarks on fome late Papers relating to the Univerfal 
Deluge^ and to the Natural Hiftory of the Earth j 
By John Harris , M. A. and Fellow of the Royal- Society. 
In OSravo, 

Difcourfes on feveral Practical Subjects ; By the late Re- 
verend William Faync y D. D. with a Preface giving fome 
Account of his Life, Writings, and Death. 

Both Printed for Richard Wilkin. 


Refutation of the ObjeBions 

Againft the 

Attributes of GOD in general. 



Preach'd at the 

Cathedral-Church of St Paul, 
September the Fifth , 1698. 


The Sixth of the Lecture for that Year, 

Founded by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efq; 


and Fellow of the Royal-Society. 


Printed by J. L. for Richard Wilkin, at the 

Kings-Head in St. VauTs Church-Tard, 1698. 

C3 ] 

JEREM. ix. 24. 

Let him that glorieth , glory in this y that he 
under ft andetb and hgorveth me > that 1 am 
the Lord j who exercife loving kindnefs , 
judgment and righteoufnefs in the earth : for 
in thefe things I delight, faith the Lord, 

PRide and Vain-Glory, are Things which Human 
Nature is ftrangely fubjecl: to ; there being 
fcarce any one fo mean, but who judges that 
he hath fomething or other that he may 
juftly be Proud of, and value himfelf for. But as 
Pride is Folly in the general, fo it apparently dif- 
covers itfelf in this refpecl:, That thofe Men are uiu- 
ally moft Vain, who have the lead Reafon to be fo, 
and that too in Things that are the lead; valuable 
in themfelves. Thus, as the Prophet intimates in. 
the Verfe before the Text, Men frequently glory in 
Bodily Strength, in Beauty, and Agility, and in the 
Affluence of external Pofleilions : Things which are 
the meaneft Appurtenances to our Natures, and which 
are neither in our Power to get nor keep. Wifdom 
indeed, and Judgment, Learning and Parts, Wit and 
Penetration, and all the Nobler Endowments of our 
Minds, are things of the greateit intrinfick Worth and 
Value, and we have much more reafon to elteem our 
felves for them, than for all the Goods of Fortune, 
or any Bodily Excellencies. But yet , Let not the 
wife man Glory in his Wifdom and Knowledge neither; 

A x tho' 

A Refutation of the Obje&ions 

thd as the Targum on the place hints , it were as 
great as that of Solomon himfelf ; for we have in 
reality no juft ground to value our felves for even 
this, when we confider that the beft: of us have it x 
but in a very flender Proportion ; and that our highefV 
Knowledge is very imperfect and defective. Hence 
it comes to pafs, or at leaft ought to do fo, that the 
Modefly and Humility of truly knowing Men en- 
creafes with their Learning and Experience : Their 
being raifed fbmething above the common level, in- 
flead of leflening *nd ihortening in their Eyes the 
Statures of other _.:i, encreafes their Profpect of a 
Boundlefs Field of Knowledge all around them ; the 
more of which they difcover, the more they, find 
yet undifcover*d. But he that knows but little, 
vainly thinks he knows every thing, and judges all 
is empty and void that is without the Bounds of his 
ftanty Horizon. 

Another great Vanity there is alfo in Pride, which- 
is, That Men are frequently conceited and Proud of 
thofe things, which they have the Jeaft fliare of, and 
are fond of mch Actions as do plainly difcover their 
Defects. For ufually thofe Men are moft forward to 
talk of Learning , who are lead acquainted with 
Books ; and thofe make the greatefl Noife about, and 
Pretenfions to Philofophy, who have the leaft infight 
into Nature. Thofe who talk moft of Certainty and 
Demonftration have ufually the moft confufed Idea's, 
and the moft Superficial Notions of things , and 
are the fartheft of all Men from true Science. This 
is apparently feen in the Pretenders to Scepticiiin 
and Infidelity , and in all the Atheiltical Writers. 
No Men expreis themfelves with fuch aninfupportable 


againji the Attributes of God in general* 

Intolence as theie New Lights, thefe Reformers of our 
Philofophy and our Politicks ; who yet after all are 
Proud knowing nothing, as St. Paul {peaks, Rom. i. 21.. 
But are vain in their imaginations ; their foolifh heart 
is darkened, and profeffing themfelves to be wife, they 
hecome fools. And therefore it is that the wifdom of 
God appears as foolifhnefs to them, becaufe the carnal 
mind favour eth not the things that are of God. 

Tho' would Men but ftudioufly apply themfelves . 
to confider of, would they carefully and impartially 
examine into , and would they but ferioufly make 
ufe of thofe Means that God hath gracioufly given- 
Mankind, in order to attain a fufficient Knowledge 
of his Nature and Perfections ; They would then find, 
fo much Beauty, Wifdom, Harmony, and Excellency 
in this inexnauftible Fund of Knowledge, as would 
fufrlciently Reward their Pains and Endeavours. And 
this we may glory- in ; this Knowledge will be the. 
mofl noble and honourable that our Capacities can, 
attain unto; and in companfon of which, there is 
no other Qualification and Excellence in our Natures 
at all valuable. For here we have an Object the 
greateft and mod perfect that can be, the more we 
know of which, the more w 7 e mall exalt and perfect 
our ielves. Here are no empty Speculations ; no 
difficiles Nugce, no falfe Lights, nor Phantaflical Ap- 
pearances ; but 'tis a real and fubftantial, an ufeful and 
practical Knowledge; a Knowledge that doth not 
only delight us for the prefent, but which brings 
conftant and lafling Satisfaction here , and eternal 
Happinefs hereafter. Let him therefore that glorieth, 
glory in this, that he underfiandeth and knoweth God, 
that He is the Lord , who exercifeth loving kindnefs 9 


A Refutation of the Objection* 

judgment and righteoufnefs in the earth , for in thefe 
things do I delight , faith the Lord. In which words, 
there are theie two Things chiefly confiderable : 

I. A Suppofition that God is capable of being 
known to us by his Attributes. 

II. An Account of iome of thofe Attributes which 
he exerciieth in the Earth, and in which he 

Under which Two Heads, I fhaH, in purfuance of 
my general Defign, ena favour to Anfwer thofe Ob- 
jections that Atheiftical Men have brought againit 
the Attributes and Perfections of the Divine Nature. 

i. Here is a Suppofition that God is capable of 
being known to us by his Attributes. He that glo- 
rieth, let him glory in this, that he underflandeth and 
knoweth God, that he is the Lord, who exercifeth loving 
kindnefs, judgment and righteoufnefs in the earth. 

'Tis plainly fuppofed here , That this Knowledge 
which we are directed to acquire, is a poflible Know- 
ledge. God would not command us to underftand him 
by his Attributes of Goodnefs , Mercy and Juftice, 
which he continually exercifeth in the Earth, if it 
were impoflible for us to attain to it : He would not 
delight to do fuch Works in the World, if nothing of 
them could be known, nor himfelf by them. But 
the Pfalmifl tells us, the Lord is known by his Works : 
And that the Heavens declare his Glory, and the Fir- 
rnament fheweth his handy-work : And St. Paul is ex- 
preis, That the Invifible Things of Him are clearly 
feen, being underftood by the things that are made, even 
his Eternal Power and Godhead, 


againfl the Attributes of God in general. 

And indeed, Thefe Attributes of God are what is 
moft and beft known to us , and from the certain 
Knowledge that we have of thefe , we may be effe- 
ctually allured of the Exiftence of fome firfl Caufe, 
fome Supream Being in whom all thefe Attributes 
and Perfections mult inhere. The Infinite Nature, 
indeed, of This Divine Being is Incomprehenfible to 
our fhallow and fcanty Underftandings, and we can- 
not by fearching find it out, nor difcover the Almighty 
unto Perfection. But notwithstanding we have as cer- 
tain a Knowledge , and as clear Idea's of his Attri- 
butes as we have of any thing in the World. And 
Grotiuss Glofs on this place is very juft and proper: 
God doth not bid Men know him according to his 
Nature, which exceeds Humane Capacity to do, but 
according to thofe Attributes or Properties of his 
which relate to Mankind, which the Hebrews call 
Middbth, i.e. thofe Meafures or Dimenfions of Him 
which are proportionable to our Underftandings and 
Capacities. And fuch his Attributes are , for we fee 
them vifibly exerted in the Works of the Creation, 
and we find them neceflarily included in the Notion 
that we have of the Supream Being, or the Firfl 
Caufe of all things ; as I have already fhewed in ano- 
ther Difcourfe. 

But this, fome are pleafed to deny ; and fay, That 
nothing at all can be known of God, but only, that 
he is : for his Nature is perfectly Incomprehenfible j 
that we do but difhonour God , by pretending to 
Underfland and to talk about his Attributes,* about 
which we can fay nothing but only what ferves to ex- 
prefs our Aftonifhment,Ignorance,and Ruflicity ; and 
therefore the Civil Magiftrate ought to determine 



A Refutation of the ObjeSlions 

(a) Amphi- 
theatr. Provid. 
/Etern. p. 9. 

(Jo) Humane 
Nature, p. 69. 

(c) Leviath. 


(j£) Leviatb. 
p. 191. 

(e) Levidtb. 
p. 192. 

what Attributes mail be given to the Deity. This 
feems to be the Senfe ot Vaninus , and is plainly of 
Mr. Hobbs ; and was before them of Sextus Empi- 
rkus. Which take in their own words : 

NonDeum melius Intelligimus quamper eaquanegamus 
nos Intelligere, faith Vaninus (a). Again, Deum nullis 
tarn plene indicatum inte/Iigimus Vocibus, quam /is qua 
Ignorantiam noftram pratendunt. We can have , faith 
Mr. Hobbs, no Conception oj the Deity, and confequently 
all his Attributes fignifie only our Inability and Defecl 
of Power to conceive any thing concerning Him, except 
only this , that there is a God {b). And in another 
place, faith he , God's Attributes cannot fignifie what 
he is, hut ought to fignifie our define to honour him; 
but they that venture to reafon of his Nature from 
thefe Attributes of honour, lofing their Vnderfiandmg 
in the very firft Attempt, fall from one Inconvenience 
to another without End and Number, and do only dif- 
cover their Aftonifhment and Rufticity (c). Again, 
When Men ( laith he ) out of Principles of Natural 
Reafon difpute about the Attributes of God, they do 
but difhonour him ; for in the Attributes we give to 
God, we are not to confide r Philofophical Truth (</). 
And therefore he concludes, That thofe Attributes 
which the Soveraign Power /hall ordain in the Wor- 
fhip of God , as figns of Honour , ought to be ta- 
ken and ufed for fuch by Private Men in their Pub- 
lick Worfhip ( e ). in which he agrees as he 
ufeth to do, exactly with Sextus Empiricus ; who 
tells us that the Sceptick is in the right for affert- 
ing Gods according to the Laws and Qujlom oj his 
Country; and in paying them that veneration and wor- 
fhip which on the fame account becomes due to them y 


again ft the Attributes of God in general, p 

will not venture to determine any thin? Philofophicallv , ^ „ „ , , 
about them (a). _ ^ WTewt g„ 

Now from thefe Paflages, I think it appears plain h *?L ***** 
enough, that tho' thefe Men did in words pretend to ^J!^ @ t% 
own and acknowledge a God, yet in Fact they were ?*& «3f»w- 
Atheifls, and had no true Belief of any fuch Being. ^ %Jt%t 9 
For a Deity without the Attributes of Under/landing •muZv.'n^mw 
and Wifdom, without Ends or Defign ; none of which ty T *Q'*°~ 
Mr. Hobhs averts exprefly, can be in God (£), is a ^**£ 
Ridiculous flupid Being, an Idol that every rational rd'ouiv©-. 
Agent mud needs defpife, and which can never be ^ dV j ****• 
the Object of any one's Adoration, Love , or Obe- 
dience. To auert therefore that the Attributes of ( b ) i*viA\k. 
God are not difcoverable by Reafon, nor agreeable to ^ 
Philofophical Truth , but may be declared to be any 
thing which the Soveraign Power pleafes to make 
them ; this is defignedly to expofe the Belief and 
Notion of a Deity, and to render it lb Precarious, that 
it can be the Object of no Rational Man's Faith. 
And this laft named Writer Treats the Deity after 
the fame manner in mod other Places of his Works; 
He faith, we muft not fay of Him that he is Finite, 
that he hath figure Parts or Totality , that he is here 
or there, that he moveth or refteth, or that we can con- 
ceive or know any thing of him ; for all this is to dif- 
honour him : And yet to fay that he is an Immaterial 
Subftance, that he is an Infinite and Eternal Spirit, 
is, he faith, Nonfenfe, and what deflroys and contra- 
ditls it Jelf However he is willing to allow the 
word Immaterial or Spirit to be ufed towards God, 
as a Mark of Honour and Refpetl. 

That is, we may attribute to God what we know 
to-be Nonienie and Contradiction, and this is the Way 

B to 

io A Refutation of the Obje&ions 

to Honour him ; and to fpeak of him any other way, 
is to Dijhonour Him ! Who doth not perceive that it 
was plainly the Defign of this Writer to treat of the 
Deity after fuch a manner, as mould deprive Him of 
all Knowledge and Care of Humane Affairs, and con- 
sequently, etfe&ually Banifli out of Mens Minds a 
juft Veneration for Him , and Adoration of Him ? 
Such Men are the mod Dangerous and Mifchievous 
of all others ; Trofefsd Atheifts can do no great Harm ; 
for all Perfons are aware of them, and will juftly 
abhor the Writings and Convention of Men that 
(ay boldly there is no God. But there are but few 
fuch ; they have found a way to pals undifcovered 
under a fairer Drefs and a fofter Name : They pre- 
tend to be true Deifts and fincere Cultivators of Na- 
tural Religion ; and to have a moft Profound Refpetl 
for the Supream and Almighty Being : But when this 
Profound RefpecT; comes to be throughly examined 
and duly underflood, it will appear to be the molt 
abominable Abufe that can be, and a moil wicked and 
Blafphemous Idea of the Deity. For they make him 
either nothing but the Soul of the World, Univerfal 
Matter, or NaturaNaturata,z God that is an abfolutely 
neceilary Agent, without any Rectitude in his Will ; 
without any Knowledge, Wifdom, Goodnefs, Juftice, 
Mercy, or Providence over his Works. But let fuch 
Perfons take what Names they pleafe upon them- 
felves, a little confideration will foon difcover what 
they are in reality ; and, I hope, give Men a juft ab- 
horrence of fuch Notions, tho' never fo fpecioufly put 

But let us now proceed to examine what Ground 
there is from the Nature of the Thing, for Men to 


againfk the Attributes of God in general. 

1 1 

advance fuch wicked Opinions,and to fhew the weak- 

nefs and precarioufnefs of them. And here it muft be 

premifed and taken for granted, that there is a God. 

This is what the Perfons I am now concerned with, 

pretend to own, and to acknowledge. Which being 

l'uppofed : It appears very plain that we may have if 

we will, and fome Perfons, as I have fliew'd \a\ have 00 Se| *mon 

always had, a very clear Notion or Idea of the At- 4th ' and * tb ' 

tributes and Perfections of fuch a Being ; as alio that 

they we fixed and immutable Properties in the Divine 

Nature. For by profefllng to believe a God, they 

mud mean, if they mean any thing, The firfl 

Caufe and Author of all Things, and the Governour and 

Difpofer of them ; A Divine Being, containing in him- 

feif all poffible Perfetlions ; without being fubjetl to 

any manner of Defecl. This I have already hinted 

at in another place (b) 9 and mall now more large- W Ir l my Se * 
, l ° cond Sermon. 

Iy prove. 

So far is it from being true, that we cannot reafon 
of the Nature of God from his Attributes, nor Difcourfe 
of thofe Attributes from our Reafon-, That this feems 
to be the only proper Way of enquiring into the 
wonderful Depth of the Divine Perfections. I mean, 
the only Way we have without Revelation, for f am 
not now confidering what God hath farther difco- 
vered of Himfelf to us by his Word. For tho' the 
Deity doth abound with Infinite Excellencies and Per- 
fections ; yet by the Light of Nature we candifcover 
thofe only , of which he hath given us fome Im- 
prelTion on our own Natures ,• and thele are the Scales 
and Proportions by which our Reafon mufl meafure 
the Divine Attributes and Perfections. For in order 
to gain good and true Notions of thefe, we ought 

62 to 

12 A Refutation of the Obje&ions 

to take our Rife from thofe Perfections and Excel- 
lencies which we find in the Creatures, and efpecially 
in our felves. 

There can be but two Ways of coming to the Know-'" 
ledge of any thing ; by its Caufe, and by its Effecls. 
'Xis lmpoflible for us to make ufe of the former of 
thefe, in Reference to the Deity : For He being himfelf 
without Caufe, and the Firft Caufe and Original of all 
Things cannot be known to us this Way. But by the 
fecond Way, he very properly may be the Object of 
our Knowledge, and we ought to apply our felves to 
this Method, in order to underftand the Attributes of 
' God. For whatever Excellency or Perfection we can 
any way difcover in the Effefls of God in the World, 
k e. in the Works of the whole Creation ; the fame we 
cannot but fuppofe muft be in Him, in the higheft and 
mod noble Proportion and Degree ; fince they are all 
owing to, and derived from Him. 

And if we take a ferious and confiderate View 
of the Excellencies and Perfections that are to be 
found in the Creatures , or the Works of God in 
the World ; we fhall find that they may be redu- 
cible to thefe Four general Heads ; Being or Suh- 
fiance. Life, Senfihility, and Reafon* All which we 
find to be in our klves , and therefore they are at 
hand, and ready to afiift. our Meditations ; and thefe 
will, if duly confidered, lead us into a good Way of 
difcovering the Attributes and Perfections of the Di- 
vine Nature. And I doubt not but a great Reafon 
why Men have had and advanced wrong Notions of 
God, hath been becaufe they have had fuch of them- 
felves, and of thofe Perfections that are in our own 
Natures, Men that do not underftand that the true 


againfl the Attributes of God in general, i a 

Perfection of Humane Nature confifts in Moral Good- 
ness, or in an Univerlal agreeablenefs of our Will to 
the Eternal Laws of Right Reafon,. cannot conceive 
aright of the Attributes and Perfections of God : 
For they will be for making him like them/elves, 
guided by vehement Self-love, and inordinate Will,, 
or whatever predominant ParTions poflefs them. 

'Twere eafie to Trace this in the Epicurean Notion 
of a God diflblved in Eafe and Sloth, and who neg- 
lects the Government of the World , to enjoy his 
own private Pleafures ; and in the Holbian one of a 
Deity not guided by any Eflential Rectitude of Will,, 
but only by Arbitrary,Lawlefs, and irrififtible Power ; 
for both thefe Opinions are exactly agreeable to the 
Genius and humours of their Authors and Propagators* 

But to proceed with our Deduction of the Divine 
Attributes from the Excellencies and Perfections which 
we find in our felves. i. If in the flrft place we con- 
fider Beings and the high Perfections that do belong 
to it ; we fhall find that they mud needs be in the 
Deity, who is the Fir(t and Supream Being, and 
the Caufe and Author of all others in the World, 
in the utmoft Perfection. Now the higheft. Perfe- 
ctions belonging unto Being, we find to be thefe two: 
i. That it fhall have an underivable and neceflary 
Existence, always be, and never ceafe, die, termin ate 
or be extintt; and, z. That it be Great and Ample as 
to its Extent, in opposition to Littlenefs or Scavty- 
nefs, and to being Limited, Circumfcribed, Bounded 
or Retrained by any Ocher Thing. 

And if we attribute thefe two Perfections toGod* 
thence will plainly Arife his Eternity, and his 1m- 
menfity or Omniprefence* For what cannot pollibly 


ia A Refutation of the Qbje&ions 

ceafe to be,. but hath neceffary Exiflence included 
in its Nature, is Eternal. And what cannot be any 
way Limited^Circumfcrihed or ReJ, } rained, mull; needs 
be Boundlefs and Immenfe, and prefent every where. 
And I dare fay, that thefe Notions of God's Eternity 
and Immenfity , do find an eafie admillion into, and 
are firmly rooted in all confiderate and unprejudiced 
Minds ; and who are not debouched by Sceptical and 
Atheiflical Metaphyficks. For 'tis impoflible for any 
one that thinks at all, to have a Notion of a Deity 
that can die, or ceafe to he ; or that is fo confined- and 
imprifoned in any one part of Space, that he can ex- 
tend himfelf no farther : No ! it mull be an Epicu- 
rean Stupefaction of Soul, indeed, that can induce a 
Man to fancy a Mortal or a Topical God ; one that 
may be Jlain, or die of old Age, or be fhackled and 
confined to any one part of the Univerfe, exclufive of 
the reft. And tho' a Man cannot find perhaps that 
he hath an adequate Idea of Eternity ; yet that God 
mud be without Beginning or End , he will readily 
allow, as foon as he conhders the Thing ; for he will 
perceive that the Firft Caufe of all Things could not 
be caufed by any thing elfe,but mud be Self-exident, 
and without Beginning : and if nothing could caufe 
his Being, nothing can take it away neither, and con- 
fequently he mud be Everlafting or Eternal. And 
of this Attribute the Heathens had a clear Idea and 
Belief, giving God the Title of A9aW7^, and Swear- 
ing ufually by the Immortal Gods. Tully faith, Deum 
tiifi S emptier num Intelligere qui poffumus ? How can we 
conceive the Deity any otherwile than to be an Eter- 
nal Being. And Ariftotle in many places makes Eter- 
nity Eflential to the Idea of God ; and particularly, 
Lii. i. de Qwlo. And 

againft the Attributes of God in general. 1 5 

— m. 

And fo as to Immenfity or Omniprefence , tho' he, in- 
deed, cannot tell the manner how a Spirit or Imma- 
terial Suhftance permeates Matter , or is prelent to 
every part of it ; yet he will conclude that the Deity 
mult fome how or other actually fill and he prefent 
with all things ; fince 'tis impoiTible he mould be 
excluded any where, or be in any refped bounded or 
limited ; as 'tis alfo that he mould ad or operate 
where he is not. Nor would, I believe, any free and 
unprejudiced Mind have recourfe either to the No- 
tion of God's being Univerfal Matter or hfinite Space, 
in order to folve His Immenfity or Omniprefence. For 
the former, he would fee, neceflarily makes the Deity 
materially divifible, into Parts actually feparated from 
each other ; and to be part of him here , and part 
there ; which he could not but think monftroufly 
abfurd and impoffible: and the latter renders God 
nothing at all, but Imaginary Room, Faculty or Space, 
in which Bodies are capable of Moving up anddow r n, 
or to and fro, without hindrance or impediment from 
any Medium. Which how it mould, any more than 
the former account for the Energetical Power, Wis- 
dom, Juflice and Goodnefs of the Divine Nature, 
( the noble ft Perfedions he can have any Idea of) 
'twould be as impoiTible for him to conceive, as it is 
for the Aflertors of it to prove. The ancient Hea- 
thens allowed this Attribute of Immenfity to the 
Deity, by common confent. Tully tells us, That 
Pythagoras afferted , Deum ejfe animum per Nat warn 
Rerum omnium intentum & comeantem, De Nat.Deorum. 
And he cites it as the Opinion of Thales Milefms ; 
Deorum omnia ejfe Plena, DeLegib. lib. 2. which Virgil 
alio affirms exprefly,— Jovis omnia plena. And again, 


A Refutation of the ObjeStions 

Deum namq; ire per omnes Terras traclufq; maris, cos- 

lumq; projundum , Georg. lib. 4. And Seneca tells us, 

{/) Ep. 95. That God is ubiq; & omnibus pneflo (a). And in ano- 

(b^DeBenef. ther place (b) , Quocunq: te flexeris, ibi Deum vi debts 

lib. 4. Occur rent em tih, nihil ab Mo vac at , Opus fuum ipfe 


2. If we confider Life; Another Perfection which 
we find in our felves, we mud needs conclude that 
this is in the Deity too, who is the great Author and 
Fountain of Life, in the highefl Degree and Propor- 
tion imaginable. Now the Perfection of Life feems 
to confifl in Aclivity, or an Energetical Power to Acl 7 
or Operate ; in oppofition to Impotence, Weaknefs, or 
Inability. And this Perfection, no one lure can pof- 
fibly doubt to be in the Deity. For befides that 'tis 
impoflible for us to conceive that Life and Activity 
in our felves can proceed from a Dead and UnacTive 
Principle ; our Reafon mud: needs rejecl: the Notion 
of an Inanimate, and Impotent Deity, or of one that 
is any way defective in Power, as foon as it can be 
propofed to it. Can we imagine that a Being from 
whom all Life , Power and Energy is derived , can 
be without it himfelf ? and that he who hath , as 
- SimpUcius calls it, SXm Svvajuu;, a whole entire or per- 
fect Power, that hath all the Power of Nature at His 
Command, can be unable to perform whatever is 
poflible to be done? that is, whatever is agreeable 
to, and confident with, the other Attributes of the 
Divine Nature ? And if fo , muft not then fuch a 
Being be own'd to be Almighty or Omnipotent ? From 
whence we fee another great Attribute doth plainly 
arife. And of this Attribute of the Deity, there was 
a plain and clear Notion all along among the Heathen 


againft the Attributes of God in general. 

Writers; as appears from Homer in many places, 
who ipeaking of God, fays, frJvaJ&i 78 cLttwAcl, The 
fame thing alfo we have in the Fragments of Linns, 
long before Him. And in Qallimachus alfo, in exprels 
words. As alfo in Agatho, an Ancient Greek Poec 
cited by Ariflotle in his Ethicks. So in Virgil and 
Ovid, you have frequently the Title of Pater Omni- 
potens given to the Deity. And this Attribute ^of 
Infinite Power in God, Epicurus fet himfelf with all 
his might to confute ; denying there was any fuch 
thing as Infinite Power at all ; that thereby ( fays 
Lucretius , lib. i.) he might take away Religion too. 

And from hence alfo his Eternity might be natu- 
rally deduced. For we cannot conceive this Life or 
Activity, this Almighty Power that is in God, can 
ever ceafe, decay or determine, any more than it can 
have had a beginning, and confequently fuch a Being 
mud necejfarily Exift, he Eternal, or Endure and Live 
for Ever. 

3 . If we proceed a little higher, and confider Sen- 
fibtlity which is another great Perfection that we find 
in our felves, and fome other Creatures, we mud: needs 
Attribute This alfo, and that in the highefl degree, to 
the Divine Nature. I take this now in the general,for 
that Power or Faculty whereby any Being is capable 
of taking Pleafure or feeling Pain. And fuch a Sen- 
fihility, or fomething Analogous to it, we cannot but 
think God mull: have in the mod exquifite Perfection, 
fince our Own, as well as that of all other Creatures, 
mufl be derived from Him. And tho', indeed, we 
ought to think that the Infinite Perfection of his 
Nature fecures him from all PoiTibility of feeling 
Fain, ( fince nothing can contradict his Will, run 

C counter 

1 8 A Refutation of the Obje&ions 

counter to his Defires, or fruftrate his Expectations) 
yet we have no reafon to fuppofe the Deity infen- 
fible of Pleafure ; but may juftly conclude from hence, 
that he is always mod perfectly happy. For he con- 
tains in Himfelf all Pofilble Good and Infinite Excel- 
lencies and Perfection, and of this He is mod exqui- 
fitely fenfible, and confequently mull eternally be 
Pleafed and delighted with himfelf in the Enjoyment 
of his own Infinite Fulnefs : And this Notion many 
of the Heathens had of God , that he was a mofi 
Happy Being; {tiling Him frequently, Z&ov fj.a^^tov ; 
and TrzLcra.v i'^ov /'jIriTci /uzr dp&cteaicu;. 

4. But the Highefl Perfection which we can dis- 
cover in our felves, and in any created Beings what* 
ever, is Reafon. And this, no doubt, we ought alio 
to attribute to God in the highefl Degree and Per- 
fection. Now the Perfection of Reafon (eems to con- 
fifl in thefe two Things : 

1. In Knowledge and Wifdom in the Underflanding. 
Faculty. And, 

2. In Rectitude or Righteoufnefs in the Will. 

All which we cannot but fuppofe the Divine Nature 
to be perfectly endowed with. And firfl as to Know- 
ledge and Wifdom ; The former of which, implies art 
Underflanding of things as they are in themfelves,. 
according to their true Natures and Properties : And 
the latter, a confidering of them as to their Relations 
to, and Dependances upon one another ; or in other 
words, according as they are fit or qualified to be. 
Ends or Means. 

And thefe mud certainly be in God, for the fame 
reafon that we have found in Him the other Perfe- 
ctions above-mentioned. To the Deity therefore,. 


againft the Attributes of God in general. 1 9 

from this Confideration, we ought to Attribute Om- 
ni fcience, and Infinite, or mofl per f eft Wifdom\ for no 
doubt we ought to conclude, That the Deity both 
knows every thing according to its Nature , and alio 
underftands its Ufefulnefs and Subfervience to any End, 
Defign or Purpofe whatsoever. And therefore it was 
as ftupidly or impioufly faid by Mr. Hobbs, That 
there can be no Juch thing as Knowledge in God, and 
that he can have no Ends. For I cannot imagine there i 

can one fo grofsly Ignorant and Foolifh be found among 
Mankind, who doth really believe there can be an 
ignorant or a foolifh God; and who would not abhor 
iuch a Pofition as monftroufly abfurd and impoilible. 
A Man mud be a long while converfant with Athe- 
iftical and Sceptical Philofophy, before he can grow fo 
dull as not to perceive the force and Power of the 
Pfalmifls Logick and reafoning in Pfal. 94. v. 8, $/&c. 
and he mud be very Studioujly brutifh and Learnedly 
foolifh , before he can think that he that planted the 
Ear, fhould not be able to hear himfelf; and that he 
that formed the Eye fhould not fee ; and that he that 
gave and taught all Knowledge to Men fhould have none 

The mighty Reafon that Mr. Hobbs is pleafed to 
give, Wljy there can be no Under/landing in God is, 
becaufe that Faculty being in us nothing but a Tumult 
of Mind, raifed by External Things that prefs the Or- 
ganical Tarts of our Bodies (a), there can benofuch 00 Leviatb. 
thing in God. And in other places, he fagacioufly \}$ ' 
determines , that 'tis impoffible to hear without Ears, 
to fee without Eyes, and to Under/land 'without Brains, 
none of which God hath ; and therefore mult be Igno- 
rant and Stupid. But, methinks, 'tis very hardly 

C 2 done 

20 A Refutation of the Qbje&ions 

clone of Him, to determine the Deity to be Corporeal* 
and yet to aflign Him none of thefe Material Organs 
in order to make him an Intelligent Being. Why 
fhould not the fame Matter which is able to form the 
Mechanick Underftanding of fo great a Philofbpher, 
be capable of being modified as Intelligently in the 
Divine Nature ? Muft the Deity have the word and 
moll: ftupid Body of All others > Into what abomi- 
1 nable Abfurdities will fuch Principles as thefe lead a 

Man ! or rather into what abominable Impieties and 
Blafphemies will Vice and Pride hurry him ! He doth 
not only think wickedly that the Deity is fuch an one as 
himfelf but infinitely worfe ; a Corporeal Being that 
hath lefs and fewer Perfetlions than a Corporeal Man I 
But I muft not dwell on fhewing the Defign of this 
Writer, having diffidently done it already. I fhall 
only now add, that I think I have already proved 
that Matter alone cannot think, know , nor under- 
Hand ; and therefore it is not Mens Brains, but their 
Soul that hath this Intelligent Power; and no doubt 
an Infinite and Immaterial Mind, needs not any Ma- 
terial Organs to convey Knowledge to him, in whom 
all the Treafures of Wifdom and Knowledge do In- 
habit, and from whom they are all derived and do 

And there was, Anciently amongft the Heathens, 
a clear belief of the Infinite Knowledge and Wifdom 
of God. Tully tells us, that Thales ufed commonly 
to fay, Deos omnia cernere, the Gods behold or know 
all things. And Seneca faith, Deo nihil Claufum eft ; 
intereft Animis noftris , & mediis cogitationihus inter- 
venit. And as to the Wifdom of God, Tully deduces 
it after the fame manner as we now have done, by 


againfl the Attributes of God in general, 2 1 

attributing the Excellencies of the Creature to the 
Deity in the Higheft Perfection. Sapiens eft Homo, 
faith he, & propterea Deus ; Man hath Wifdom, and 
therefore God, from whom the Wifdom in Man is 
derived, muft needs have it himfelf. But again, As 
we muft attribute to God Infinite Knowledge and 
Wifdom ; \o we muft Refikude of Will or P erf eft 
Right eoufiiefs too. And (trace the Rectitude of the 
Will confifls in an exacl; Conformity of it and all „ 7 

its Affe&ions to the Impartial Rule of Right Reafon • 
we cannot but fuppofe alfo, that the Will of God is 
in a mod exquifite Conformity to the Di&ates of his 
Unerring Reafon ; and that the Deity doth in every 
refpect ac-i exactly agreeable thereuQto. And by this 
means we mall find that God muft be Juft and Righ- 
teous in all his Proceedings, and that he always exe- 
cuteth Juftice and Righteoufnefs in the Earth, and de- 
lights in thefe things. Our Adverfaries, indeed, do 
aifert, That there is no fuch thing as any diftinttion 
between Good and Evil , Juft and Vnjuft, that can he 
taken from any common Rule, or from the Obj eels them- 
felves ; but only with Relation to the Perfon that ufeth 
them ; who calls that Good which he loves , and that 
Evil which he hates (a). That God doth every thing 60 Leviath, 
by his Irrefififtible Power ; and that in that is founded fpfo'/^J 4 * 
cur Obedience to Him, and not in any Principle of Gra- Poftb*?. %'. 
titude to him (b) for Benefits which we have received (<j) Levi A tb, 
from him. That Juftice is founded in Power, and that P* l8 7- 
whatever is Enatted by a Soveraign Power cant be 
Unjufl. The Groundlefsnefs of which ImpiGus and 
Dangerous Notions, I fliall fully mew in a fubfequent 
Difcourfe ; and therefore fliall only nowobferve, that 
this Way of depriving the Deity of thefe moft ex- 

22 A Refutation of the Obje&iont 

cellent and lovely Attributes of Juftice and Goodnefs, 
and making Him to Ad: only according to the Arbi- 
trary Dictates of Irrefiftible Power, gives us the No- 
tion of a Devil inflead of a Deity, of an ablblute Ty- 
rant, inflead of a righteous Governour of the World; 

and is directly contrary to 
* Plato calls the Deity 'i<#a t dy*,fo, the the Sober and Confiderate 

very Idea or Eflence of Good. And herein he Sentiments nf all IVfo nkmH * 
feems to have followed the Pythagoreans and pentimentS Ot aiUVjanKind , 
\ Tim&us Lccrus in particular: Who aflerts of in whole Minds a plain Dl- 

Mnd, according to him the firft Principle of ftinftion between Good and 

the Univerfe , that it is, t ayaM* avei®-, °* r< • 7 • r j j j i 

the Nature of Good : And faith further, & vi1 IS founded , and WllO 

0*^7$ ivoiKouvi£pu.t apxivjz $f &el<&v-> that can never be brought with- 
beft things! 1 G ° d ' and the PrinCipk ° f thC out doi "g S reat violence to 

AriftotkaKo reckons Moral Goodnefs among themfelveS, tO afTert that the 

the Perfections of the Divine Nature: And Deity is not guided in all 
Plutarch faith, tis one of the chiefeft Excel- ,. "j* , .1 %. 1o t 

lencies in the Deity ; and that on this account things by the Eternal Kules 

it is that Men love and honour Him. of Truth and Juflice , and 

„L^/S/»W3 *«? *p of all the Earth 
or External Motives. Jbouldnot do right. They fee 

the comlinefs and lovelinefs 
that there is in good and juft Actions among Men ; 
and therefore cannot fuppofe that an Infinite and 
Almighty Being can do any thing contrary to them; 
they are fenfible that Deviations from thofe Rules pro- 
ceed only from the Defects and Imperfections that 
are in our Natures; but that God , who is 'lKavot>1cf7tt> 
a7nx,v1oi)v iy avTa%x&s&!lt)V) who pojfejjeth and fufiaineth 
all things, cannot make ufe of any indirect Means to 
procure himfelf Happinefs , or to Have off Mifery ; 
iince the Perfection of his Nature gives him all the 
we, and fecures him from all the other. And they 
which certainly never believe that God will do 
any Action , that they do not think fuitable to be 


againjl the Attributes of God in general. 1 3 

done by a good and juft Man ; But will on juft Grounds 
conclude, That whatever Excellence or Perfections 
they can any way difcover to be in a Good Man, muft 
needs be in the higheft Proportion in God, and con- 
fequently that the Deity muft be mod Righteous, Juft 
and Good, and moft Kind, Merciful and Gracious in all 
his Dealings with his Creatures. 

And thus we fee how by confidenng the Excel- 
lencies and Perfections which we find in our (elves, { 
and attributing them in the Higheft Proportion to 
that Supream Being the Deity , from whence they 
muft all be derived ; we may attain to a good and 
clear Knowledge of the Properties and Attributes of 
the Divine Nature : We may find them to be fuch as 
are agreeable to the plained Reafon and to Philofo- 
phical Truth : and confequently conclude, that they 
can have no fuch weak and precarious Foundation as 
the Order of the Civil Power , and the Will of the 
Supream Mag/ft rate. 

And were it now my Bufinefs, 'twere very eafie 
from hence to fhew alfo the True Foundation of Reli- 
gious Worfhip ; that it doth depend on the Right Ap- 
prehenfions and Notions that we have of the Attri- 
butes of God ; and that our Obedience to Him, is 
founded in our Gratitude to him for the Benefits 
wh$ch we receive from Him , and confequently is our 
Reajonahle Service. But the Proof of this will be 
more proper in another Place. 

F I N I S. 

Refutation of the Objections 


Moral GOOD and EVIL. 


Preach'd at the 

Cathedral-Church of St. Paul, 
Qttober the Third, I 698. 


The Seventh of the Lecture for that Year, 

Founded by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efq; 


and Fellow of the Royal-Society. 


Printed by J. L. for Richard Wilkin, at the 

Kings-Head in St. Paul's Church-Tard, 1698. 


J E R E M. ix. 24." 

Let him that glorieth , glory in this , that he 
under ft andeth and \noweth me , that 1 am 
the Lord , who exercife loving \indnefs^ 
judgment and right eonfnefs in the earth : for 
in thefe things do I delight , faith the Lord. 


N thefe Words, as I have already fhewed, there 
are thefe two Things confiderable : 

I. A Suppofition that God is capable of being 
known to us by his Attributes. 

II. An Account of fome of thofe Attributes which 
he exercifeth in the Earth, and in which he 

On the former of thefe, I did, in my Iaft Difcourfe 
endeavour to remove the Objections againft the Attri- 
butes of God in general , and to fhew that they are 
plainly difcoverable by Reafon, and agreeable to Phi- 
lofophical Truth. As to the Second, 

The Attributes of God mentioned here by the 
Prophet, and which he is faid to delight to exercife 
in the Earth. 

I think it not neceflary to difcourfe particularly 
of them, having in my laft Sermon fhewn how They^ 
as well as all other Excellencies and Perfections which 
we can difcover in the Creatures, muft of necefTky 
be in the Divine Nature in the greateft Perfection ; 

A 2 becaufe 

A Refutation of the Obje&ions 

becaufe they are all derived from Him. But that 
which I judge will be more proper to be done now, 
as being agreeable to my Defign of Anfwering the 
Atheiflical Objections in their Natural Order , will 
be from hence to Remove two Great Barrs to the 
true Knowledge of God and of his Attributes, which 
Sceptical and Unbelieving. Men have here placed in 
the Way. For indeed, till this be done, no true No- 
tion or God or of his Perfections can be eilablifhed 
in Mens Minds ; nor any Ground fixt whereon to 
build a Rational Belief of Natural or Revealed Reli- . 
gion, or any kind of Worfhip of the Supream and 
Almighty Being. And thefe Two great Objections 
of our Adverfaries are, 

i. That there is in reality no fuch thing as Moral 
Good and Evil ; but that all Actions are in their own 
Nature indifferent. 

m. That all things are determined by Abfofute Fa- 
tality : And that God himfelf, and all Creatures what- 
foever, are Neceflary Agents, without having any 
Power of Choice, or any real Liberty in their Nature 
at all. 

Thefe are two of the flrongeft Holds of Atheifm 
and Infidelity, which 'tis therefore abfolutely neceflary 
to batter down and demolifh : And thefe do in fome 
ienfe communicate with and run into one another ; 
and indeed the former plainly follows from the latter. 
But however, they being very frequently made ufe 
of diftinctly by the Oppofers of Religion , and the 
former being maintained by fomePerfons whom lean- 
not find do hold the latter ; I fliall endeavour to Re- 
fute them feverally. Beginning with that which I 
have firft propoled ; viz. 


again jt Moral Good and Evil. 5 

That there is in reality no fuch things as Moral 
Good and Evil, but that all Actions are in their own 
Nature purely Indifferent. 

And this Pofition our Adverlaries are very exprefs 
in maintaining, as will fufficiently appear by their 
own Words. 

The Virtues that Men extollfo highly, faith Mr. Blount 
(a), are not of equal weight and value in the Balance of (a} Anima 
Nature ; hut that it way fare with them, as with Coin ^""^ ,n 0r * 
made of Copper or Leather : which tho it may go at a j,, 1I7 , ' 
high Rate in one Country by Proclamation ; yet will it 
not do fo in another, for want of Tntrinfick Value. 'Tis 
plain enough what he means by this ,• but how this 
Aflertion will agree with his allowing fome things to 
be $fou £taa<a (by, Good and Juft in their own Na- (b) Oracles of 
ture, as he doth in his Account of the Deifts Reli- Reafon > h %9 ' 
gion, let the Admirers of thofe Contraditlory Oracles 
of Reafon, confider. But, indeed, 'tis no new or un- 
common thing with thefe kind of Men to make Con- 
tradictory Proportions fubfervient to their Purpofes : 
as they often do in this very Cafe. For when you 
upbraid them with a Disbelief of Revelation, they 
will fay, that 'tis enough for any Man to live up to 
the Principles of Natural Religion, and to adhere in- 
violably to all things, yvGzt Unatwt • for thofe are things 
that are Obligatory on all Mankind, and not like Re- 
vealed Truths,mere Political and Topical In ftitutions. 
Whereas at another time, if you tell them of fome 
grofs Immoralities that they are Guilty of, and which 
are plainly contrary to Reafon , and to the cleared 
Light of Nature ; Then they will anfwer you, That 
Good and Evil are only Thetical things ; which re- 
ceive their very Eflence from Human Laws or Cu- 



A Refutation of the Objection* 

floms only, but that by Nature nothing is either 
Good or Bad ; and that all Actions are alike and In- 
different; fo hard is it , as an Excellent Perfon ob- 

(a) a. Bifh. ferves (*) , to con tr adt -fit Truth and Nature , without 
V0I/4. p.Ti5. contradicting ones felf. But to go on, 

Spinoza takes care to deliver himfelf very plainly, 
as to this Matter. Bonum & Malum nihil Pofitivum in 

(b) op Poll- Rebus fc. in fe confideratis indicant (b). And in ano- 
P, ' p * ' 4 * ther Place, he tells us, Pqftquam homines fibi perfua- 

ferunt, omnia qua fiunt i propter ipfos fieri , id in una-; re pracipuum judicare de hue runt, quod ipfs, uti~ 
liffimum ; (i) ilia omnia prceftantifjlma ceftimare, a qui- 
bus optime afficiebantur. Unde has formare debuerunt 
Notiones, quibus Return naturas explicarunt, fc. Bonum 
CO tf^p.37- & Malum, Ordinem& Confufionem,t§c. (V). And the 
p! 171, 185, fr me thing alfo he alTerts in many other places. 
360, &c. Mr. Hobbs alfo exprefly maintains, That there is 

nothing fimply nor absolutely Good or Evil , nor any 
common Rule about them to be taken from the Ohjetls 
t hem/elves , but only from the Perfon ; who calleth that 
Good which he likes or defires, and that Evil which 
(d) leviath. he hates, &c. (*/) Nothing, faith he, is in its own Na~ 
p. 24. ture j u j} or ijnjuft^ becaufe naturally there is no Pro- 

(e) ibid. $.6$, perty, but every one hath a Right to every thing (e); 
* 4 ' And therefore he defines Juftice to be only keeping 

(/) P- 73- of a Covenant ( f ). And in another place he tells us, 
That Good and Evil are only Names that fignifie our 
Appetites and Averfions ; which in different Tempers, 
(i) ibid p. 79. Cufioms and Dotlrines of Men are different (g). The 
fame thing he aflertcth alfo in many other places of 
(h) Viimm. his Writings (/>)• And this Doctrine the Translator 
^™^ d f* of Phihftratus is fo fond of, that, tho' he be fome- 
cive c. 1. §. 2. times very defirous of being thought an Original, 


againfh Moral Good and Evil. 

yet he Transcribes this entirely from Mr. Hohhs (a) ; (*) Blount's 
as indeed Mr. Hobbs, according to his ufual way, had „/J « # f?/'*" 
before,in a great meamre done from Sextus Empiricus; 
who in very many places declares that it was the 
Opinion of the Scepticks, that there was nothing Good 
or Evil in it felf (b). And he endeavours to prove Oj) wVtajp *>- 
this Point , by the very fame Arguments which the £tjjj^ v 
Modern Aflertors of this Opinion,do make ufe of (c). \j^ 9 ^Zp^rb. 

And tho' Mr. Hohhs boafl much of his Notions H )P 0U P : 4& 
about thefe things to be new, and originally his own ; p"^ 8 .^"'^ 
yet 'tis plain, that it was the Old Atheidick Doc-trine l* ?uV« "«£?*. 
long before Plato's Time. For he tells us, Lih.z. De f^ v - d Sext 
Rep. p. 358. That there were a fort of Men who E mp. Adv. ' 
maintained, That by Nature Men have a boundlefs Math. p. 45°» 
Liberty to acl: as they pleafe , and that in fuch a J^'&c. 462 ' 
flate, to do that to another which is now called an 
Injury, or a piece of Injuftice, would be Good ; tho' 
to receive it from another would be Evil : And that 
Men did live a good while at this rate, but in Time 
finding the Inconveniencies of it, they did agree upon 
Laws, in order to live peaceably and quietly with 
one another. And then that which was enacied by 
thefe Laws, was called Jiift, and Lawful. 'Oi^io*^ 
rb \J3td t2 vo/lLx ^nray/'.a, vojutjLCov tz y^ SUaiov. 

This is the Principle we fee of thofe Atheiftical 
Men : which tho' fome of them do now and then 
take Care to conceal, or to exprefs a little cautioufly, 
yet they underftand one another well enough : and 
fo indeed may any one do them, that thinks it worth 
his while to con fide r fenoufly of, and to fearch into 
the Bottom of the Matter. And this is truly one of 
the Great Depths of Atheifm and Infidelity : 'Tis a 
Principle that when once thoroughly underflood and- 


, .,. x*Mim -i ■ . ■! ■ 

8 A Refwatiott of the ObjeSUons 

imbibed, confirms a Man in the Disbelief of all man- 
ner of Religious Obligation. For he that hath once 
{"wallowed down this abominable Tenet, will, as fome 
of the lately mentioned Writers difcover themfelves 
to do, believe nothing of the Deity, but that he is 
Almighty and Arbitrary Tower, or a Blind fatal and 
Necejfary Agent : Either a Being that makes his Will 
his Law , and who is not guided in his Actions or 
Difpenfations, by the Dictates of Reafon nor by any 
Rules of Juflice and Goodnefs : or elfe one that pro- 
p'Vf'^o °6 P er ^ *P ea fci n g» hath no Ends nor Dejtgns at all 0) ; 
(l) cfte'ndam-' but is without any Under/landing (J?) , Freedom of Will y 
adDeinaturam Choice or Wifdom ; one who cannot poflibly help do- 

l^SSS in § as he doth > but is impelled in every thing by 

fertkere. ibid, abfolute Necemty. So that there being (as accor- 

P; } d - . ding to thefe Principles there cannot be) no Good- 

p . 2 9 . ' ' nefs in the Deity , there can be none any where : 

But all Actions, antecedent to Human Laws, will be 

Indifferent. And the Obligation that Men are under 

to Human Laws being only, as Hobbs faith, from 

Fear of Punifhment ; no doubt a Man of this wicked 

Perfwafion will flick at the Perpetration of no Villany 

nor Immorality, that will any way advantage himfelf, 

and which he can commit fecretly and fecurely ; but 

will purfue his own Private Benefit and Intereft (the 

only Good he underftands, and thinks himfelf obliged 

to mind) by all pofllble Means and Endeavours. 

This therefore being the Cafe before us, it will very 
much concern us to Return a fair Anfwer to, and fully 
to Refute this Dangerous Objection againft all Religion, 
and indeed againft the Good and Welfare of all Go- 
vernments, and all Civil Societies : and which I wiih 
we had not fo much reafon to believe, is fixt in the 
Minds of too many amongft us. And 

againfh Moral Good and Evil. 

And in order to do this the more clearly and effe- 
ctually , it will be neceflary firft truly to flate the 
Point, and to dif-engage it from fome Difficulties and 
Perplexities which our Adverfaries have defignedlv 
clouded it withall. Say they whatever is the Object of 
any Man's Defires that he calls Good ; as alio what- 
foever is in any refpect Beneficial and Advantageous 
to him. And on the other hand, that which is hurt- 
ful and prejudicial to him, and is the Object of his 
Hatred and Averfion, that he calls Evil, and fo doubt 
lefs it is to him. Now, fay they further, Since that 
which may be Good to one Man, or defired by him 
auw, may be Evil to another, or may by the very 
fame Peribn, be hated and fhunned at another Time ; 
it plainly follows, that the Nature of Good and Evil, 
is perfectly precarious , and will be as various and 
changeable as the different Humours and Inclinations 
of Mankind can make it And thus Mens Actions 
will be denominated accordingly. Every one account- 
ing that a Good one which he likes, which promotes 
his Intereft, and is conducible to his Advantage : And 
calling that an Evil one, which he difapproves of, and 
which is contrary to his Intereft and Inclination. 

To all which, I fay, that thefe Men run their Ar- 
gument a great way too far, and conclude much more 
from it than the Nature of the thing will bear. For 
allowing as a firft Principle that all Men defire Good, 
and that they cannot do otherwife ; Allowing aifo 
that Apparent or feeming Good hath the fame Effect 
as real Good, while it is the Object of any particular 
Man's Defires : Nay, allowing alfo this Apparent Good 
to be a very precarious Thing, and to depend very 
much on the different Humours, Tempers and Incli- 

B nations 

io A Refutation of the ObjeBions 

nations of Mankind; which is the whole Bafis on 
which thefe Writers found their Argument, I fay, 
Granting all this , it doth not come up to the Que- 
flion between us, nor form any Real Objection 
againft the natural difference between Good and Evil,, 
and the Eternal Obligation of Morality ; for the Point 
in difpute is not whether fuch an EfTential and Immu- 
table Difference as this now fpoken of, be difcernible 
in all the Actions of Mankind ; for 'tis readily al- 
lowed that there are a great many Indifferent, and 
which are neither good nor lad in their own Natures, 
but may be either, as Circumflances determine. This, 
I fay, is not the Cafe ; but whether there be not fome 
fuch Adions, as do plainly difcover themfelves to the 
Unprejudiced Judgment of any Rational Man, to be 
Good and Evil in their own Natures, antecedent to 
the Obligation of any Human Laws. Or in other 
Words, whether there be not fome Adions which do 
carry along with them fuch a clear and unalterable 
Realonablenefs and Excellency , as that they do ap- 
prove themfelves to be Good and Lovely to any Un- 
prejudiced Mind , and confequently Mankind muft 
be under an Univerfal and Eternal Obligation to per- 
form them , and to avoid and fhun their Contraries. 
As alfo,. whether we have not all the res (on in the 
World to believe that thofe Adions, which the Mind 
of Man can thus difcover to be Morally and Eflerr- 
tially Good, are agreeable to the Will of God, and 
directed by it : And to conclude, that the Deity 
alfo ads and proceeds in all Refpeds according to 
the fame Univerfal and Eternal Dictates of Reafon P 
and is Juft and Good, Equitable and Righteous in all 
bis Dealings with his Creatures; and that he exer- 


againft Moral Good and Evil 

cifeth thefe things in the Earth. This I take to be the 
true flate of the Cafe; and this is what we Aflerr, and 
our Adverfaries Deny; and what I mall now endea- 
vour to prove. 

In order to which, it muft be allowed in the 
i. Place, That Man is a thinking Being, and hath 
the Power of Reafoning and Inference. It mull be 
allowed alfo, that we are capable of Knowing this, 
and do mofl evidently difcover fuch a Power in our 
felves. And fince all Intelligent Creatures do natu- 
rally defire to be happy, we mull do fo too, and con- 
fequently endeavour to obtain that Kind of Happinefs 
which is agreeable to our Natures and Faculties ,• i. e. 
a Happinefs that lhall relate to our whole Natures, 
and not to the Body only : Now the Happinefs of 
any Being confifling in the free and vigorous Exer- 
cife of its Powers and Faculties, or in the Perfection 
of its Nature; and the Nature of Man being Reafon, 
the Happinefs of Mankind muft confift chiefly in the 
free and vigorous Exercife of his Reafoning Faculty ; 
or being in fuch a Condition as that we can do ail 
things that are agreeable to, and avoid all fuch things 
as are difagreeable to it. Now all this fuppoied and 
granted, as I think none of it can be denied, it will 
plainly follow , that all luch Actions as do Univer- 
fally approve themfelves to the Reafon of Mankind, 
and fuch as when duly examined and confidered, do 
conflantly and uniformly tend towards, and promote 
the Happinefs of Man, confidered as to his whole 
Nature, and chiefly as to that part of him in which 
his Nature doth more properly confift, which is his 
Rational and Underftanding Faculty : Such Achons, 
1 fay, muft neceftarily be faid to be in their own Na- 

B 2 ture 

i i 

12 A Refutation of the Objections 

ture Good ; and their Contraries muft be denominated 
Evil, after the fame manner ; for whatfoever is uni- 
verfally Approved, is univerially Good : to call a 
thing Good being nothing elfe but to declare its con- 
ducibility to that end it was defigned for. Now ac- 
cording to our Adverfary's Ailertion, Men call that 
Good which promotes their own Advantage and Hap- 
pinefs, and io no doubt it ought to be efteemed ; 
all that they miftake in , being, that they don't 
underfland wherein their true Happinefs confifts. And 
therefore if a Thing doth in its own Nature approve 
it felf to the impartial Reafon of Mankind, and can 
on due Examination manifeftly appear to conduce to 
the Jntereft , Advantage and Happinefs of Human 
Nature ; fuch a thing mull by all Rational and think- 
ing Men be pronounced naturally and morally Good ; 
and its Reverfe, Evil in the lame manner. And that 
this is the cafe in Reference to that which is com- 
monly called Moral Good and Evil, will appear plain 
and evident when we ihew, 

z. That there are fbme Things and Actions which 
the Free and Unprejudiced Reafon of all Mankind, 
cannot but acknowledge to be Comely, Lovely, and 
Good in their own Natures as foon as ever it coniiders 
them, and makes any Judgment about them. And 
this is what is apparent to the Obfervation of all 
Men to have been ipfofatlo done ; and the Truth of 
it cannot be denied : For have not all Nations in the 
World agreed in paying fome kind of Worfhip and 
'Veneration to the Deity ? Was there ever any Place 
where, or Time when, Obedience to Parents, Grati- 
tude for Benefits received, Acls ofjuftice, Mercy, Kind- 
nefs, and Good Nature, were not accounted reafbnable, 


agaiftft Moral Good and Evil. vfy 

good and decent things > I know fbme Perfons have 
boldly told the World that 'tis quite otherwife, and 
that there are fome whole Nations To Savage and 
Barbarous as to have no Notion of any Deity, who 
have no manner of Religious Worfliip at all, and 
who have no Notion or Idea of Moral Good and Evil '.- 
But when we confider that thefe Accounts come ori- 
ginally only from a few Navigators, who probably 
did not flay long enough at thofe Places to acquaint 
themfelves with the Language of the Natives, and 
who confequently could not have much Knowledge 
of their Notions, Opinions , and Cufloms ; it will 
be too hardy a Conclufion to inferr pofitively that 
Men pay no Worfliip to, nor have any Idea of a 
God , only becaufe they did not fee them at their 
Devotions. And moreover, when we have had later 
and more accurate Accounts of fome of thofe Places, 
which do plainly difprove the former Aflertions, we 
have good reafon, I think, to fufpend our aflent to 
them. And then as to their Notions of Good and 
Evil, it will not follow that they account Stealth and 
Murder as good and comely things as Juflice and 
Mercy, onl\ becaufe thefe Relators had fbme of thofe 
Ac^s committed on them. For commonly they them- 
felves fhew them the way, by wickedly Robbings 
Imprii Ring and Murdering them ; and therefore why 
the Pc >r Indians may not return fome fuch Actions 
apon their Enemies sad Invaders, without being fup- 
pofed '-o Le quite Ignorant of the Difference between 
Gc od and Evil , I confefs, I do not fee. And by 
what too often appears from their own Relations and 
Books of Travels, the Indians h^\ 7 Q not more reafon 
to be thought Savage and Barbarous, than thofe that 


I ij. A Refutation of the Objections 

give usfuch an Account of them; for by their Actions 
they difcover as poor Notions of Morality , as 'tis 
po/Iible for any Men to have. 

But after all, fuppofe the Fact true, as I do really 
believe it is not, That there is any Nation of Men fo 
Stupid as to be quite devoid of any Notion of a God, 
or of the Difference between Good and Evil : All that 
can be concluded from hence is, that fome Men may 
for want of Commerce with other Parts of the World, 
and for want of Thinking, and cultivating and 
exercifing their Rational Faculties, degenerate into 
meer brute Beafls ; and indeed, as fuch the Relators 
defcribe them ; according to whofe Account of them, 
many Species of the Brute Creation difcover more 
Underflanding, and Ad, if I may fo fpeak, more ra- 
tionally; but it cannot be fairly argued from hence, 
that they never have had any Notion or Belief of thefe 
things ; or that their Reafons will not aflent to the 
Truth of them hereafter, when their unhappy Preju- 
dices may be removed,and they may become civilized 
by Commerce. Much lefs fure will this Prove, that 
there is no Notion of a Deity, nor of Moral Good 
and Evil in all the other Parts of the World, and 
amongft Men that can think , and do exercife their 
Reafon and Underflanding. Will not a General Rule 
fland its Ground tho' there be a few Exceptions againfl 
it ? Will Men take their Meafures to judge of Human 
Nature only from the Monftrofities of it, from the 
word and moft flupid Parts of Mankind ? Men may 
as well argue that all Mankind are devoid of Arms or 
Hands, or are Univerfally Defective in any other Part 
of the Body, becaufe fome few are daily born fo, or 
father have them cut ofE We fee there are often 


againjh Moral Good and Evil. i 5 

Natural Defe&s in Mens Minds as well as their Bo- 
dies, and that fome are born Fools and Idiots, as well 
as others Blind and Lame ; and a great many we fee 
make themfelves fo by their own Fault ; But fure no 
one will conclude from hence, that all Mankind are 
Fools and Idiots, unlefs he be a degree worfe than 
one himfelf. And yet Men may even as juftly make 
any of thefe abfurd Inferences, as to fay, there is in 
the Minds of Men no Power to diftinguifh a Natural 
Difference between Good and Evil, only becaule there 
are fome Stupid and Barbarous People, among whom 
no fuch thing can be difcovered. For my part, I do 
mod heartily believe, that 'tis impoffible for a Ratio- 
nal and Thinking Mind, acting as fuch, to be infen- 
fibleof the Difference between Moral Good and Evil i 
I cannot Imagine that fuch a Perfon can think it a 
thing indifferent in its own Nature, whether he fhould 
Venerate, Love and Worlhip the God that made him, 
and from whom he derives all the Good he can poffibly 
enjoy ; or whether he mould Slight,Defpife,Blafpheme 
or Affront him. It feems utterly impoffible to me, 
that any thinking and confederate Man, fhould judge 
it an indifferent thing in its own Nature, whether 
he fhould honour and reverence his Father, or abufe 
him and cut his Throat : or that he can efleem it to 
be as good and decent a thing to be Ungrateful or Un- 
juft, as it is to acknowledge and to return a Kindnefs, 
to render every one their Due, and to behave our 
felves towards others, as we would have them do 
towards us. 

I do not think that the Instances produced by a 
late Ingenious Writer, of fome wild People's expofmg. 
their Sick and Aged Parents to die by the Severities. 


\6 A Refutation of the Otye&ions 

of Wind and Weather, nor of others who eat their 
own Children, are of force to prove that there is 
really and naturally no difference between Good and 
Evil, any more than I will believe that he cited thofe 
Tallages with a defsgn to make the World think fo ; 
for I think, allowing the truth of all thefe Relations, 
no fuch Inference can be thence deduced. A Practi- 
cal Principle, of the Truth and Power of which a 
Man may be demonstratively allured, may yet be 
over-born in fome Refpe&s by other Opinions which 
Ignorance and Superflition may have fet up in a Man's 
Mind. This Gentleman faith, p. 25. Of Human Un- 
derjlanding, That a Dotlrine having no better Original 
than the Superflition of a Nurfe, or the Authority of an 
Old Woman, may by length of time grow up to the dignity 
of a Principle in Religion or Morality. Now Ihould a 
precarious and wicked Opinion over-rule a Man in 
one or two particular Cafes, and carry him againfl the 
Rules of Morality , will it follow from thence that a 
Man doth believe thofe Rules of no Natural Force,and 
that it is an Indifferent thing whether he obferve them 
or not ? Ought I to conclude, that becaufe I have 
read of a King that Sacrificed his Son to Moloch, that 
therefore he believed it as good and reafonable a thing 
to burn his Children alive, as to preferve, take care of 
them, and give them a good Education ? Certainly, 
'twould be a fairer and more reafonable Inference, to 
conclude that his Reafon and Natural Affection was 
over-power'd by his Idolatrous and Superftitious Opi- 
nion ; and that the reafon why he did fuch a Wicked 
and unnatural Action was becaufe he expected fome 
very great Benefit for it from the Idol, or that he 
would Inflict fome very great Judgment upon him, 


againfi Moral Gocd and Et/i/. i 7 

if he did not do it. And (b in the Cafes above- 
mentioned , one may well enough believe that 
thoie Barbarous and Inhumane Wretches that Star- 
ved their Parents and Eat their Children ; did not 
nor could not believe it was as good and reafo- 
nable fo to do , as it would be to preferve them ; 
but only that they were under the Power of 
fome Wicked Superftition , or Abominable Cuflom 
that had unhappily crept in among them ; which 
they thought it a greater Evil to break (if they 
thought at all) than they did to Ad againft their 
Judgment , Natural Reafon , and AfFedtion. For 
this way ( as he obferves ) 'tis eafie to imagine how 
Men , may come to worfhip the Idols of their own 
Minds , grow fond of Notions they have been long 
acquainted with there , and ftamp the Characters 
of Divinity upon Abfurdities and Errors , &c. p. z6. 
So that I cannot fee any Confequence at all , 
in averting the Non-exiftence of Moral Good 
and Evil, from a few Barbarous and Ignorant 
Wretches doing fome A&ions that bear hard on 
the Rules of Morality : For notwithftanding that 
they may be loft in a great meafure in fome pla- 
ces ; yet thefe things, and many others that might 
be inflanced in, do certainly carry fuch Self- 
evidence along with them ; that a free and unpre- 
judiced Mind muft needs perceive which way to 
determine, as foon as ever they can be propofed 
to it, and confidered of by it. For any one in 
the World that doth but underftand the mean- 
ing of the Terms in any of the lately mentioned 
Moral Proportions ; will be demonftratively allu- 
red of the Truth of them : And he will fee as 

C clearly 

8 A Refutation of the ObjeBions 

clearly that God is to he worfhipped , that Parents 
are to he honoured , and in a word , that we ought 
to do to others as we would he done unto , as he 
affents to the Truth of fuch Axioms as thefe : 
That a Thing cannot he and not he , at the fame 
Time ; That Nothing hath no Properties ; And that 
the whole is greater than any one, and equal to all 
its Parts taken together : For the Reafon why all 
Mankind allow thefe as firft Principles, is becaufe 
their Truth is fo very Apparent and Evident, 
that they approve themfelves to our Reafon at 
firft fight. And fo , I think ,.. do all thefe Great 
Principles in Morality; they certainly afFect im- 
partial and confiderate Minds, with as full a Con- 
viction as any of the former can pofTibly do, 
And would no more have been denied or dis- 
puted than the others are , had they not been 
Rules of Pratlice , and did they not require Some- 
thing to be done, as well as to be believed. 
For he that rightly underftands what is meant 
by the words God, and Worfhip ; will fee the 
Neceflary connexion between thofe Terms , or 
the Truth of this Proportion , God is to be 
worfhipped, as evidently as he that knows what 
a Whole and a Part is, will fee that the Whole mufl 
he greater than, a Part. And no Propofition in 
Geometry can be more demonftratively clear, than 
thefe Moral ones are, to Men that are not wil- 
fully Blind and wickedly Prejudiced againft fuch 
(a) Efiay of Practical Truths. For as one hath well obferved (*), 
ftatuf^ru" Morality may he reckoned among thofe Sciences that 
2.75 * are capable of Bemonjlration. And that thefe Mo- 

ral Truths have a flronger connexion one with ano* 


againji Moral Good and Evil, i p 

ther % and a more neceffary Conference from our Idea's^ 
and come nearer to a perfetl Demonfiration than 
is commonly imagined ; infomuch, that as he faith 
in another place , They are capable of real Cer- 
tainty as well as Mathematicks {b). Now if the cafe (b) Pag,284, 
be io , as moll certainly it is ; it will plainly fol- 
low, that Thofe things that do thus demonftratively 
approve themfelves to the unprejudiced Reafon of all 
Mankind, muft be good and lovely in their own Na- * 

tures, or Morally fo, antecedent to the Obligation of 
Human Laws, Cuftoms or Fafhions of particular 

And in this plain Diftindion between Good and 
Evil , which our Reafon , when duly ufed, Impow- 
ers us thus at firfl fight to make, is founded that 
which we call Confcience : which is a kind of an 
Internal Senfation of Meral Good and Evil. And 
this Candle of the Lord , fet up ly himfelf in mens 
Minds , and which 'tis impoffwle for the Breath or 
Tower of man wholly to extinguijh (a J; is as- Na- (4) Effay of 
tural to a Rational Mind , as the Senfe of Pain Hura - Under " 
and Pleafure is to the Body; for as that is given ftand ' h 27<5 * 
us by the Author of our Natures to prelerve us 
from bodily Evils , and to capacitate us to enjoy 
fuch a Kind of Happinefs; fo Confcience is our 
Guard againfl: the Invafions of Moral or Spiritual 
Evils ; and will , if rightly followed , give us al- 
ways fo much Peace , Joy , and Satisfaction of 
Soul, as cannot poffibly be had any other way. 
But again ; 

z. it is mofl plain alfo, That there are fome things 
which do Univerfally and Naturally tend to pro- 
mote the Happineis and Welfare of Mankind , and 

C 2 others 

2 A Refutation of the ObjeBions 

others that do equally contribute to its Mifery • 
And confequently on this Account we mud efleem 
the former to be really and naturally Good things, 
and the latter, Evil. Now one would think, that 
one need not fpend Time to prove that the Pra- 
ctice of Moral Virtue , doth Uniformly and Natu- 
rally promote the Happinefs of Mankind, and that 
Vice and Immorality do as naturally and neceflarily 
tend to its Mifery. For doth not any one plainly 
perceive, that there is no Virtue, or Part of Mora- 
lity, but what hath fome particular Good and Advan- 
tage to Human Nature, connected with it, as all Vice 
and Wickednefs hath the contrary? Doth not a 
fincere Veneration for that Supream and Almigh- 
ty Being, from whom all our Powers and Facul- 
ties are derived, and a confeioufnefs to our felves 
that we are obedient to his Will, and confequently 
under his Protection ; doth not this , 1 fay , bring 
conftant Peace, Comfort and Satisfaction along with 
it? and prove our greateft Support under any 
Troubles and Afflictions l And on the other hand, 
hath not generally fpeaking he that is guilty of 
Impiety, Profanenefs and lrreligion, difmal Doubts 
and dire Sufpicions in his Mind of impending 
Punifhments , and Mifery ? Is not fuch a Mans 
whole courfe of Action, a continual ftate of War 
in his own Breaft, and a conftant Contradiction 
of his Reafon and his Confcience ? What hath 
fuch a Perfon to fupport him , or to give him 
any comfort on a Sick or a Death-Bed, when the 
hurry and amufements of fenfual Pleafure are over ; 
and when all the treacherous Enjoy nents of this 
World begin, to fail him , and difcover themfelves 


againji Moral Good and Evil. 1 1 

to be counterfeit and fictitious ? But again, is it 
not plain to every one , that Truth , Jufiice and 
Benevolence , do Naturally and Eflentially conduce 
to the well being and Happinefs of Mankind, to 
the mutual fupport of Society and Commerce, and 
to the Eafe, Peace and Quiet of all Govern- 
ments and Communities ? and doth it not as clearly 
appear on the contrary that breach of Trulls and 
Compacts, lying and falsifying of Mens Words, 
Injuftice, Oppreffion , and Cruelty, do inevitably 
render that Place or Society miferable where they 
abound ? What an unexpreffible wretchednefs would 
Mankind be in, if Hobls his State of Nature were 
in Being amongft us ? i. e . a State wherein no 
Man would have any Notion of Moral Virtue, but 
where every one mould think himfelf to have a 
right to all things, and confequently be ftill endea- 
vouring to obtain them ; and making it his daily 
bufinefs to vex, rob, ruin and deftroy all who op- 
poled his Will, and they alfo be doing continu- 
ally the fame things againft Him, and againft one 
another. A Man muft be flupidly and wilfully 
blind before he can aflert fuch a State as this, to 
be as happy and advantageous to Mankind, as where 
all Moral Virtues are obferved and exerciled : And 
therefore Mr. Hobls himfelf is forced to allow that 
rational Agents would have recourfe to the Ena- 
cting of Laws for the due Government and Regu- 
lation of Society. But how thefe Laws i'hould ever 
come into Peoples Heads , that are fuppofed to 
have no manner of Notion of any diftinction be- 
tween Good or Evil, Jufl or Unjuft ; and when 
there is in reality no luch thing, is what I can- 

q 2 A Refutation of the Objections 

■ » • ■■ ■ 

not poflibly conceive. On the contrary, I think 
that the Conftant and Univerfal Support, that 
thefe Moral Virtues have always had from Human 
Laws, is a mod demonftrative Argument that 
Men have always thought them Subftantklly and 
Morally Good and Excellent in themfelves ; and 
that they do Naturally and Eternally conduce to 
the good of all Societies. Indeed, fome things 
may be, and often are Enacted or Prohibited by 
Human Laws , that have no real nor Intrinfick 
Goodnefs, nor Natural Evil in them ; but are only 
Good and Evil, according to fome particular Cir- 
cumftances and Exigencies of Affairs. And thus 
God himfelf was pleafed to appoint the Jews many 
Rites and Obfervances that had not any real or 
Intrinfick goodnefs in them , but only were ne- 
ceflary for the prefent Circumflances and Condi- 
tion of that Nation. But then thefe are every 
where in Holy Writ, Poft-poned to Moral Vir- 
(V)Mich.6. 8. tue (a), declared by God himfelf to be of much 
Dart. io. 12. j e ^ r y a j ue . atlc i whenever there was a Compe- 

i Sam. 15. 22. . . . . , r . r ' * 

pfii.50. 8. tition between them, thefe were to give place to 
tbofe ; which were properly fpeaking good in their 
own Natures, and of Univerfal and Eternal Obli- 
gation ; whereas the others w r ere only good pro 
hie & nunc. Therefore they are laid by the Apo- 
ftle, to he not Good, 1. a in themielves or in their 
own Natures; but only by Inftitution. But this 
is not the Cafe as to fuch Actions as we have 
been mentioning, which are called Morally Good 
or Evil; for thefe have been conflantly and uni- 
verfally diftinguifhed by Humane Laws, and have 
never been confounded or changed. For can any 


againft Moral Good and Evil. 22 

Man produce a Law that ever obtained uniVer- 
fally againft paying Adoration and Worfhip to the 
Deity ? againft Mens honouring their Parents , or 
againft their being Juft, Good, Merciful, and Righ- 
teous in their Dealings with one another ? Againft 
fuch things , as St. Paul tells us , there is no Law, 
Nor is it poftible for our Adverfaries to (hew us, 
that the contrary Immoralities were ever univer- 
fally thought good and lawful ; or allowed and 
eftablifhed by any General Authority whatsoever; 
and mould the Reverfes to Moral Virtue be en- 
joined as Laws , and every one commanded to be 
Unjuft, Oppremve, and Cruel, as now he is en- 
joyned the contrary, any one may imagine what 
would be the difmal Confequences of it. 

3 . But again, Another Argument for the Natural 
diftinclion between Good aifd Evil , may be drawn 
from the Confideration of our Paflionsand Affections r 
For thefe are fo framed and contrived by our Wife 
Creator, as to guide and direct us to Good, and 
to guard and preferve us from Evil by a kind of 
Natural Inftincl:, which we find in our felves fre- 
quently previous to all Reafoning and Confide- 
ration. Thus, we perceive a ftrange Horrour, and 
very ungrateful Senfations feize upon us immedi- 
ately , on the fight of a Scene of Mifery , or a 
Spedacle of Cruelty ; and as foon as ever our Ears 
are entertained with the doleful Relation of fuch 
Adions ; fo alfo an Inftance of great Injuftice or 
very bale Ingratitude , raifes a j uft Indignation in 
us againft the offending Perfon; and we cannot 
avoid being uneafily moved and affe&ed in fuch 


24 A Refutation of the ObjeStions 

Cafes. While on the contrary , a very pleafing 
Satisfaction of Soul arifes in us , when we fee, 
or hear of an Inftance of great Kindnefs , Ju- 
ilice, Generofity, and Companion. Now this Sym- 
pathizing of our Natural Affections with our Rea- 
lbn ; and their approving and difapproving the 
very fame things that it doth , is a very convin- 
cing Argument that there is an EfTential difference 
between Actions as to their being Good or Evil, 
and that we have a plain Knowledge of fuch a 
diftinction. For no doubt God implanted thefe 
Paffions and Affe&ions in our Natures, and gave 
them this Turn which we plainly perceive they 
have, in order to prepare the way for our .Rea- 
sons more thoroughly alluring us of the Natuial 
Goodnefs and Excellence of Moral Virtue, when 
it comes to be Ripe, and fufhcient for that E: d ; 
and in the mean time , to keep Children and 
Young Perfons, in whom we perceive tht.<.. Na- 
tural Efforts to be very flrong, by a kind oJ- An- 
ticipation or Natural Inftincl: from doing fuch thi s 
as their Reafon , freely exercifed , wili afterv \ 
condemn them for. 

And now upon the whole, there c : ng th s 
plainly proved an Eflential and Natural P -ierer^e 
between Moral Good and Evil ; and that the Rea- 
fon of all Mankind freely and impartially exer- 
cifed doth agree in this Point, that Morality con- 
duces to the Happinefs, and Immorality to the 
Mifery of Human Nature : We may very jufily 
conclude from hence, that all other Rational t- 
gents muft judge of Good and Evil after the f 


againft Moral Good and Evil. 2 c 

manner, and plainly diftinguifh one from the 
other. And they alio mud Know and Understand 
that their Perfection and Happinefs (though they 
may differ in fome Circumftances from us) doth 
confift in Acting according to the Eternal Rules 
of Right Reafon and Moral Virtue. For if the 
Cafe be not fo, feveral Rational Natures all de- 
rived from the fame Deity, may come to make 
contradictory Judgments , even when they Act 
according to the Great and Common Rule of their 
Nature. But the Principle of Right Reafon, at 
this Rate, would be the molt precarious thing 
imaginable , and Men could never poflibly be 
allured that they were in the Right in any Point, 
or knew any thing at all. Ailuredly therefore 
this Great Rule of Right Reafon that God hath 
given bis Creatures to govern and direct them- 
selves by , is no fuch uncertain thing , is in 
no refped Contradictory to it felf ; but mud be 
Uniformly and Constantly the fame in all Beings, 
that are endowed with it , when it is rightly and 
perfectly followed. 

And from hence alio we cannot but conclude, 
that the fame Eternal, Conftant and Uniform Law 
of Right Reafon and Morality that God hath 
given as an Univerial Guide to all Rational Be- 
ings, mult alio be in Him in the greateft and moft 
exquifite Perfection. And that, not only becaufe 
all Perfections and Excellencies in the Creatures 
muft neceflarily be in that Firft Being from 
whom they are derived, as I have already proved ; 
gjtf #Ho, that if it were not fo, Qod muft be fup- 

D pofed 

26 A Refutation of the Obje&ions 

pofed to have given us a Rule of Action that is 
contrary to his own Nature, or at lead . vaftly 
different from it. And that he hath contrived our 
Powers and Faculties fo, as to deceive us in the 
mofl Material and Effential Points, and indeed 
hath left us no pofTible way of knowing the Truth: 
of any thing whatfoever. 

For, If when, as I have fhewn above, God hatli 
not only fixed in our Natures, a Defire of Hap- 
pinefs ; but alfo difpofed them fo, that every Power 
Faculty and Capacity of them convinces us that 
the Exercife of Moral Virtue is the Way , and 
indeed , the only Way to make us entirely hap- 
py. If I fay after all this , there be no fuch 
things as Moral Virtue and Goodnefs , but that 
all Things and Actions, both in us and the Dei- 
ty, are purely and in their own Natures In- 
different ; 'tis plain, Reafon is the mofl ridiculous 
thing in the World, a Guide that ferves to no 
manner of Purpofe but to bewilder us in the 
Infinite Mazes of Errour, and to expofe us to 
Roam and Float about in the boundlefs Ocean 
of Scepticifm , where we can never rind our Way 
certainly to any Place, nor direct our Courfe to 
the Difcovery of any Truth whatfoever. But 
this not being to be fuppofed of the Deity, who 
contains in himfelf all PofTible Excellence and Per- 
fection ; it muft needs be that our Reafon wilf 
direct us to conclude the Deity alfo guided and 
directed in all his Proceedings by the Eternal 
Rules of Right Reafon and Truth : and confequently 
that He will and doth always exercife loving Kind± 


againji Moral Good and EviL 2 7 

nefs 9 'judgment and Right eoufnefs in the Earth ; as 
the Prophet here fpeaks. 

And indeed , the Hobbian Notion of a Deity- 
guided only by Arbitrary Will Omnipotent, with- 
out any regard to Reaibn, Goodnefs, Juftice, and 
Wifdom, is To far from attributing any Perfection to 
God, or as they pretend, being the Liberty and 
Sovereignty of the Deity ; that it really introduces 
the greatefl Weaknefs and Folly, and the mod: Bru- 
tilli Madnefs that can be ! for what elfe can be fup- 
pofed to be the Refult of Irrefiftible and Extravagant 
Will , purfuing the moft fortuitous Caprichio's of 
Humour, without any Wifclom, Ends, or Defigns to 
Regulate its Motions by * 

And of this the Ancient Heathens were fo (en- 
fible , that they always connected Goodnefs with 
the Idea that they had of an Omnipotent MincPs 
being Supream Lord over all things in the 
Univerfe; for Mind not guided and duelled by 
Goodnefs was , according to them , not w& but 
avoia, t mere Folly and Madnefs , and confequently 
no true Deity. There is a Remarkable Paffage 
of Qelfuss to this purpofe, which though intro- 
duced upon another Defign, yet very clearly fhews 
the Idea that the Heathens had of the Good- 
nefs and Wifdom of the Deity. God , faith he, 
cant do evil things, nor will any thing contrary to 

Nature (or Reafon) for God is not the Frefi- 

dent or Governour of Irregular or Inordinate Defires; 
nor of erroneous Diforder and Confujjon y but of a Na- 
ture truly Jufl and Righteous. • a A A' »r< yt r» 

ew7^£x 6 0ios otivoda}, &<& td ^^ fri<r& fixAilaj* 

D 2, ~~4 ft 

2 8 A Refutation of the ObjeSlions 

8 $) $ 1ff/\Yl/U, fAiXuc, Q*l%ZU!><; y B^ £ ItiirXcLVYl fJWMS 

dx.oa[Az<;, aAAa ^ o?,3ifc ^ ^jxarfa^ pjave$ (dih; '6£iv 
d^^yirr,;. Orig. contr. Celf. lib. 5. p. 240. Cantabr. 

Excellently to the fame Purpofe, is that Saying 
of Plotinus, The Deity doth always aft according to 
his Nature or Effence , and that Nature or EJfence 
difcovereth Goodnefs and fuftice in all its Opera- 
tions : for indeed, if thefe things fbould not be there 
(i. e. in God) where can they elfe be found ? Uo& 

fel >U /Af! IK&t tOLVtCL, 7T8 CCV Gfcl ; p. 2.0$. tlCW. 

And 'tis plain that the Heathens had a true 
Notion, that the Deity mud be a Good, Juft and 
Righteous Being; becaufe feveral of the old A- 
theifts , as Protagoras, &c. argued againft the Exi- 
gence of a Deity , from the Worlds being fo ill 
Made and Ordered as it is, and from there being 
lb much Evil and Mifery among Mankind, as they 
pretended to find in the World? but now there 
had been no manner of force in this Argument, 
and it had been ridiculous to bring it , if, both 
the Atheiflical Propofers of iti, and their Antago- 
nists , had not had a clear Notion that Goodnefs, 
Juftice and Righteoufnefs are naturally included in 
the Idea of a God, Accordingly Vaninus tells us,. 
That Protagoras ufed to fay, Si Deus non eft unde 
igitur Bona > ft autem eft, unde Mala, Amph. y£tern. 
Provid. p. 90. And the fame thing Tully tells us 
alfo ( Lib. De Nat. Deorum ) that Diagoras ufed to 
object againft a Deity. All which fufFc^ently proves 
that they were all Agreed that there was fome 


again ji Moral Good and Evil. ctp 

common Standard of Good and Evil ; and that 
the Notion of a Deity had always thefe Attri- 
butes of Goodnels and Juflice connected with it. 

And if this be fo , as undoubtedly it is , we 
fliall gain one more good Argument for this Na- 
tural and Eternal Diftinction between Good and 
Evil, and a yet much Nobler Foundation for Mo- 
rality. For we cannot but think, that a God who 
hath Perfect Goodnefs, Juflice and Mercy, Eflen- 
tial to his Nature, and who hath Created feveral 
Orders of Being in the World , to make them 
Happy, and in order to difplay his own Glory, 
by his Juft, Kind and Gracious Dealing with them : 
we cannot but think, I fay, that God will give 
to thole of his Creatures, whom he hath endowed 
with Reafon, and a Power of Liberty and Choice, 
fuch a Method of knowing his Will, (the Way 
that leads to their own Happinefs) as that they 
fhall never be Miftaken about it, but by their 
own grois Fault and Neglect. And alio that he 
will make the difference between Good and Evil, 
and between Virtue and Vice fo plain and con- 
Ipicuous, that no one can mifs of the Knowledge 
of his Duty , but by a wilful Violation of thofe 
Powers and Faculties God hath gracioufly implan- 
ted in his Nature. And all this we fee God hath 
A&ually done : and indeed much more ; having 
over and above connected very great Rewards with 
the Pra&ice of Virtue and Morality. And hath 
either naturally planted in the Minds of Men a 
Notion of (bme future State, or elfe hath given our 
Nature fuch a Power, as that we may attain to 


A Refutation of the Obje^tions^ &c, 

fuch a Notion : for we find a very plain Belief 
and Expectation of fuch a State, among many of 
the Ancient and Modern Heathens. 

And over and above all this,- he hath alio given 
us a clear Revelation of his Will in the Holy 
Scripture , that fure Word of Frophecy and Inflru- 
ttion , whereby we may , if we will , gain a yet 
plainer Knowledge of our Duty, be more perfectly 
Inftru&ed in the Method of Eternal Salvation, and 
find alfo much higher Encouragements, and much 
greater Helps and Afiiftances than we had before 
in the State of Nature. And all this is vouch- 
safed us to enforce the more effectually the Pra- 
ctice of Moral Virtue, and to enable us more per- 
fectly to perform thole Things , which the Uni- 
verfal Reafon of Mankind approves as Good, Lovely 
and Advantageous to Human Nature. 



Booh/ Printed for Richard Wilkin , at the 
KingVHead in St. PaulV Church-Yard. 

REmarks upon fome late Papers relating to the Univerfal 
Deluge, and to the Natural Hiftory of the Earth. 
In Ottavo. And, 

Immorality and Pride the great Caufes of Atheifm. The 
Atheift's Objection, that we can have no Idea of God, Re- 
futed. The Notion of a God, neither from Fear nor Policy. 
The Atheift's Objections, againft the Immaterial Nature of 
God, and Incorporeal Subftances, Refuted. A Refutation 
of the Objections againft the Attributes of God in General : 
In Six Sermons Preach'd at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul,, 
1 698. being the firft Six of the Lecture for that Year, 
Founded by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efqj By John 
Harris, M. A. and Fellow of the Royal Society. 

Dr. Payne's Difcourfes on feveral Practical Subjects. In 

Dr. Abbadic's Vindication of the Chriftian Religion, in 
Two Parts. In Ottavo. 

A S( ious Propofal to the Ladies, in Two Parts. In 

Letters concerning the Love of God, between the Author 
of the Propofal to the Ladies, and Mr. Norris. 

A Treatife of the Afihma, divided into Four Parts. In 
the Firft is given a Hiftory of the Fits, and the Symptoms 
preceeding them. In the Second, The Cacochymia, that dif- 
pofes to the Fit, and the Rarefaction of the Spirits which 
produces it , are Defcribed. In the Third , The Acci- 
dental Caufes of the Fit , and the Symptomatic Aftkmas 
are Obferv'd. In the Fourth, The Cure of the Jflhrna Fit, 
and the Method of Preventing it, is Propofed. To which 
is annex'd a Digreflfion about the feveral Species of Acids 
diftinguifh'd by their Taftes : And 'tis obferv'd how far 
they were thought Convenient or Injurious in general Pra- 
ctice, by the Old Writers - 7 and molt particularly in relation 
to the Cure of the Ajihma 5 By Sir John F foyer. In QUmq, 


Refutation of the Atheiftical Notion 

o F 
Fate , or Abfolute NeceJ/ity. 



Preach'd at the 

Cathedral-Church of St. Paul, 
November the Seventh, 1698. 


The Eighth of the Lecture for that Year, 

Founded by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Efq; 


and Fellow of the Royal-Society. 


Printed by J. L. for Richard Wilkin, at the 

Kings- He ad in St. Paul's Church-Tard, 1698. 

( 3 ) 

J £ R E M. ix. 24. 

Let him that glorietb , glory in this , /&<** he 
nnderjiandeth and kpoweth we , that I am 
the Lord , W:w exercife loving \indne(s y 
judgment and righteottfnefs in the earth : for 
in thefe things do I delight, faith the Lord. 

I Did, in my laft Difcourfe, begin to Speak to 
the Second Particular considerable in thefe 
Words, viz. 
An Account of fome of thofe Attributes which God 
is here faid to Exercife in the Earth, and in which 
he Delights. 

On which I did not think it neceflary to Difcourfe 
particularly ; but from thence took an Occafion to 
Remove two Great Bars to the true Knowledge of 
God and of his Attributes, which Sceptical and Un- 
believing Men had railed in the Way. Which were 
Thefe : 

I. That there is in reality no fuch Thing as Moral 

Good or Evil : But that all Actions are in their 
own Nature indifferent. 

II. That all things are determined by abfolute Fa- 

tality : And that God himfelf , and all Crea- 
tures whatfoever, are Ncceflary Agents, with- 
out having any Power of Choice, or any real 
Liberty in their Natures at all. 

A z The 

A Refutation of the Atheiflical 'Notion 

The former of Thefe I did then difpatch , plainly 
proving the Exigence of Moral Good and Evil , and 
anfwering the Objections againft it. 

I proceed now to fpeak to the latter ,• which is 

an Objection that our Adversaries are very fond of, 

and do all of them, upon Occaflon, have recourfe to. 

And it is indeed a great Point gain'd if they could 

make it out, and will effectually deftroy all manner 

of Religious Obligation, and all dread of Punifhment 

Dr. cudwortb for doing amifs. For as one obferves on thefe Three 

in Preface to things all Religion is founded : i. That there is a. 

his inteiletlua q q ^ w j iq mac j e ^ p re f lC { es over f anc { governeth all 

things. 2. That there are fome things $u<r&t zaAa ^ 
Sityua, in their own Natures good and jufl. 3. That 
there is alfo fomething ip' r/iiV, fomething in our own 
Power to do, whereby we are Accountable for our 
Actions, and become guilty when we do amifs. But 
there can certainly be neither Good nor Evil in any 
Man's Actions, and no Rewards or Punifhments can 
be the Confequents of them, if nothing at all be in 
our own Power, if whatever we act or commit, it 
is abfolutely impodlble for us to avoid acting or com- 
mitting. Which yet muft be the cafe, if, as they 
aflert, Things are determined by abfolute Fatality ; and 
that God himfelf and all Creatures whatsoever are ne- 
eejfary Agents, without having any Power of Choice, or 
any real Liberty in their Natures at all. 

I mall therefore at this Time, 1 . Shew you that 
this is plainly their A(Iertion,from their own words. 

2. 1 mall endeavour to fliew the Groundlefnefs of 
of thofe Reafons on which they build their Hypothefis. 
And 3. from fome Arguments, Eftablifh the con- 
trary Poiition of the Freedom and Liberty of Human 
Nature. 1. And 

of Fate or Jbfiiuie Necejpty. 

i. And that this is the AfTertion of the Two great 
Atheiftical Writer, ; s very plain, Mr. Hohbs declares 
himfelf to be of the Opinion, (a) That no Man can (a) abbs r ri- 
le free from Necejfitation. That Nothing taketh begin- V^h P- 29'j '• 
wing from it felf, hut from the Action of fome other 
Immediate Agent without it felf And that therefore, 
when firft a Man hath an Appetite or Will to fomething, 
to which immediately before he had no Appetite nor Will, 
the Caufe of his Will is not the Will it felf hut fome- 
thing elfe not in his own difpojing. So that whereas it 
is out of Ccntroverfie that of Voluntary Ac! ions the Will 
is the Neceffary Caufe, and hy this which is faid, the 
Will is alfo caufe d hy other things whereof it difpofeth 
not , it followeth , that Voluntary Aclions have all of 
them Neceffary Caufes , and therefore are neceffitated. 
(h) This (faith he alfo) is a certain Truth; that there 0) Ibid./. 312. 
are Certain and Neceffary Caufes which make every 
Man to will what he willeth, lb. p. 306. And then as 
to the Deity, I have already more than once taken 
notice, That Hohhs denies Him any Under/landing, 
Senfe, or Knowledge ; (c) and alTerts him to be without CO vit *« Ser * 
any Ends or Defigns in his Aclions and Operations. ™* m ,'y{X.'s° 
Which plainly makes Him an Agent abfolutely and 
phyfically Necedary ; as, indeed, follows alfo from 
the Notion of his Being Corporeal, which the fame 
Writer every where maintains (d). «)vid.Serm. 

Spinoza alfo is very Exprefs in this' Matter , as I V,i> * 49 ' 
have already fhewn (e) in fome Meafure. In mente CO Serm, v. 
(faith he) nulla eft ahfoluta five libera voluntas; fed*' 5I * 
Mens ad Hoc vel illud Volendum determinatur a Caufi, 
auce etiam ah alia, & hac iterum ah alia & fie in 
Infinitum (f). And in another place, Voluntas non pot eft pefilumX^ 
vecari Caufa libera, fed Tantum neceffaria. ( g ) And (g) p. 28. 


A Refutation of the Atheiflical Notion 

yet on another Gccafion, and in another Book, he 

hath thefe words, Clare &diftinfte Intelligimus, ft ad 

tfoftram naturam attendamus, nos in noftris aftionibus 

effe liberos, & de mult is deliberare propter id folum y 

(a) Pmcep. quod volumus (a). Which is as plain and palpable a 

pkihf. cartef. Contradiction to what he, with the fame air of Aflii- 

JM03. ranee, delivers in other places, as can poflibly be. 

Vix.Hobbs alfo cannot be acquitted from exprcfly 

contradicting himfelf as to this Point of Liberty and 

Necefllty ; for he tells us in his Reafons for his Opi- 

(h) Hobbs Tri» mot)) (b) That he that reflelleth on himfelf cannot but 

po? 3 h 3H« .be fatisfied. that a Free Agent is he that can do if he 

will, and forbear if he will. And fuch an Agent he 

allows Man to be, and faith he hath proved it too. 

But how he will reconcile this with his Aflertion that 

no Man can be free from Neceffitation, and that all our 

Actions have neceffary Caufes, and therefore are necef- 

fitated, I cannot imagine. As to Spinoza's Account 

of the Deity, in Reference to this Point, I have 

given a hint or two of it already. He makes God to 

i be the fame with Nature, or the Univerfe, to be Cor- 

poreal and an abfolutely neceflary Agent ; one who 

cannot poffibly help doing as he doth ; one who 

hath no Power of Creation, nor doth aft according 

(c) p. 29. op. to free Will (c ). But is Limited and Retrained to 

Po ^i and one conftant Method of A&ing by the Abfolute Ne- 

ceflity of his Nature, or by his Infinite Power. And 

left any one mould mifunderftand him fo far, as to 

imagine that he means by this, that God is by the 

Excellency and Perfection of his Nature, in all his 

Operations exactly conformable to the Rules of Ju- 

Jlice, Goodnefs and Right Reafon ; He plainly excludes 

that Notion in thefe words ; Qui dicunt Deum omnia 


of Fate or Abfolute Necefjity. 

fub Ratione Boni agere, Hi aliquid extra Deum vidcn- 
tur ponere, quod a Deo non dependet, ad quod Deus tan- 
quam ad Exemplar in Operando attendit, vel ad quod, 
tanquam ad certum fcopum collimat : Quod profeftb 
nihil aliud eft quam Deum Fato fubjicere (a). (a)op.PoJlh. 

Now, I think nothing can more fhew the wicked ?• 52, 
Perverfnefs of this Writer's Mind, than this Paflage ; 
For he could not but know very well that when Di- 
vines aflert the Deity to be Effentially and neceffarily 
Good, they do not mean that Goodnefs is any thing 
Extrinfical to the Divine Nature, much lefs that it is 
fomething which hath no dependance upon it : but 
only that the Excellency and Perfection of his Nature 
is fuch, as that it is in every thing exactly confor- 
mable to Right Reafon ; and therefore this was cer- 
tainly a wilful Perverfion of their Senfe, fet up on 
purpofe to overthrow the Notion of Moral Goodnefs 
in the Deity. But how vain is it for him to tell us, 
that for the Deity to Act fub Ratione Boni, is for Him 
to be Subject to Fate, when at the fame time he Him- 
felf Aflerts, that God is in every refpect a Neceflary 
Agent, without any free Will, nay, without any Know- 
ledge or Vnderftanding in his Nature at all ? This is fo 
plain a Demonltration, that it was his chief and Pri- 
mary Defign to baniih out of Mens Minds the Notion 
of Moral Goodnefs, that nothing can be more : and 
therefore tho' he was refolved to Introduce abfolute 
Neceflity into all Actions both Divine and Human ; 
yet it mould be fuch an one as mould leave no Um- 
brage for any diftinction between Good and Evil, 
or any Foundation for Rewards and Punifhments. 
And in this Notion of Neceflity, thefe Writers fol- 
low Democritus, Heraclitus, Leucippus, and that Athe- 


8 A Kef Nation of the Atbeiftical 'Notion 

iflical Seel: ; who maintain'd that there was Nothing 
in all Nature but Matter and Motion. And therefore 
when thefe Modern Writers aflcrt that there is no- 
thing in the Univerfe but Body, as they do, they run 
Fate farther than molt of the Old Heathen Patrons 
of Neceflity did. For there was none but the Derno- 
critick Sett, that fuppofed Fate to have a Power over 
the Will of Man ; and in this particular, even they 
were deferted by Epicurus ; as I obierve below. The 
Pythagoreans, Platonifts, and Stoicks agreed that the 
Mind of Man was free. And 'tis well known that the 
Stoicks did in this Free Power of the Will of Man, 
found that arrogant Ailertion of theirs, That a Wife 
Man was in one refpeel: more excellent than the Gods ; 
for they were Good by the Neceflity of their Nature 
and could not help it, whereas Man had a Power of 
being other w'fe, and therefore was the more com- 
mendable for being fo. There was, indeed, fome of 
the Poets , and iome few of the Philofophers too, 
who did fubjecl: the Gods themfelves to Fate or Ne- 
ceflity. Thus Seneca in one place faith , NeceJ/itas 
& Deos alligat ; Irrevocahilis Divina par iter ac Hu- 
mana Curfus vehit. Ule ipfe omnium Conditor ac Reclor 
fcripfit quidem Fata, fed fequitur, femper paret, femel 
juffit. Which Opinion is effectually refuted and ex- 
pofed by Lucian t in that Dialogue of his called Z&q 
lfay%6/Liiv@u. As alfo by Latlantius in his Firfl: Book 
De falfa Religione , Chap. n. But this, as I doubt 
not but Seneca and fome others underflood in a fofter 
fenfe than at firfl; fight it appears to have , fo was it 
the Do&rine of but a few ; for generally the Hea- 
thens did fully believe that Prayers and Sacrifices 
would alter a Man's Fortune and Circumflances for 


of Fate or Abfohue Necejpty, 

the better ; that they would appeafe the Anger, and 
gain the Favour and Blernng of the Gods, and that 
Their Nature was not fo abfolutely Fatal and Ne- 
ceilary, but that they could freely deal with their 
Creatures according as they deferved at their hands. 
For we find Balhus the Stoick mentioned by Cicero, 
telling us, That the Nature of God would not be mofi 
Powerful and Excellent, if it were Subject to the fame 
Necejfity or Nature, Qua Ccelum, maria , terra: f, re- 
guntur : Nihil Enim eft prceflantius Deo, Nulli igitur 
efl Natural Obediens & Subjeftus. So that thefe Wri- 
ters tread in the Steps of the worfl, and moft Athe- 
iflicalofthe Heathen Philofophers, and maintain a 
more rigid Fate, and a more irrefiftible Neceflity than 
moil of them did. But, 

2. I come next to fliew the Groundlefnefs of thofe 
Reafons and Arguments on which thefe Men build 
their Hypothecs of Abfolute Neceflity. 

And firft as to the Reafons of Mr. Hobbs. The 
Chief that he brings againft the freedom of Human 
A&ions are thefe , faith Mr. Hobbs, In all Delibera- 
tions and alternate Succeffwns of Contrary Appetites, 
"*tis the laft only which we call Will ; this is imme- 
diately before the doing of any Atlion, or next before 
the doing of it become Imp offible. Alio, Nothing, faith 
he, can take beginning from itfelf but muft do it from 
the Action of fome other immediate Agent without it; 
if therefore a Man hath a Will to fome thing, which he 
had not before : the Caufe of his Willing is not the Will 
it J elf, but fome thing elfe not in his own difpofing. So 
that whereas *tis out of Controverfe , that of Voluntary 
Atlions the Will is the Neceffary Caufe ; and by this 
which is now f aid , the Will is alfo Caufe d by Other 

B things 

i o A Refutation of the Atheifiical 'Notion 

things whereof it difpofeth not , it follows that Volun- 
tary Atlions have all of them Neceffary Caufes, and 
therefore are neceffitated. Agen alio. Every fufficient 
Caufe , faith he , is a Neceffary one, for if it did not 
produce its Effell neceffarily , 'twas becaufe fomething 
was wanting to its Produtlion, and then it was not fuffi- 
cient. Now from hence it follows that whatfoever is 
produced, is produced Neceffarily, and confequently all 
Voluntary Atlions are Neceffitated. And to define a 
Free Agent to be that 9 which when all things are pre- 
fent which are neceffary to produce the Effell, can never- 
thelefs not produce it, is Contradiction and Nonfenfe ; 
for 'tis all one as to fay the Caufe may he fufficient 
(i. e.) Neceffary , and yet the Effecl fhall not follow. 
This is the Subftance of all Mr. Hobbs his Proof 
againft Free Will ; in which, there are almoft as many 
Miilakes as there are Sentences ; and from hence it 
plainly will appear, that either he had no clear Idea s 
of what he wrote about ; or elfe did designedly en- 
deavour to perplex, darken and confound the Caufe : 
For in the riril place, He confounds the Power or Fa- 
culty of Willing in Man with the laft ail of Willing, 
or Determination after Deliberating. And confe- 
c;uentiy doth not diflinguiih between what the Schools 
would call Hypothetical and Abfolute Neceffity : which 
yet ought to be carefully done in the Point between 
us; for an Agent may be free,and no doubt every Man 
is free to deliberate on, and to compare the Objects 
offered to his Choice, and yet not be lo after he 
hath clofen. Then, indeed, Neceffity comes in ; 'tis 
impoilible for any one to clioole and not to choofe, 
or to determine and not to determine ; and after the 
Eledion is made, no one ever fuppofed that a Man 


of Fate or Abfolnte Neceffity, 

i t 

is free not to make it. And therefore if by the Will 
Mr. Hobbs means that lafl Aft of Willing or Electing, 
which immediately precedes Afling, or which is next be- 
fore the doing of a thing become impofftble, as lie ex- 
prefleth himielf ; he fights with his own fliadow, 
and oppofes that which no body ever denied : for no 
Man ever fuppofed Freedom and Determination to be 
the fame thing ; but only that Man before he deter- 
mined was free, whether he would determine (o and * 
fo, or not. And accordingly he himfelf defines a 
voluntary Agent,to be him that hath not made an end of 
Deliberating (a). 60 Tripos, 

Agen, 2. 'Tis hard to know what he means here, fm * llm 
by Nothing taking its beginning from it felf : he is 
talking about Voluntary Aclions, and about the free- 
dom of Human Nature , and therefore fhould referr 
this to the Witt of Man : but the Inftances he af- 
terwards produces, are of Contingent things ( b), W #& }iS« 
which are nothing at all to his purpofe. But if this be 
fpoken of the Will , what will it fignifie ? I grant 
Nothing can take its beginning from itfelf ; the Will 
of Man took its beginning from God, and Volun- 
tary A&icns ( we fay) take their beginning from the 
Faculty or Power of Willing placed in our Souls : But 
what then ? doth it follow from thence, that thofe 
A&ions we call Voluntary are Neceffitated , becauie 
that they take their Original from that free Power of 
Election God hath placed in our Natures, and not 
from themfelves ? I dare fay, no one can fee the con- 
fecfuerice of this part of the Argument. And it will 
not in the lead follow from hence, that the Ca^fe of a 
Man's Willing, is not the Will it felf; but fome thing elje 
not in his own drfpofing : Which yet he boldly ailerts. 

B x It 

12 A Refutation of the Atheijfical Notion 

It is the Power of Willing, or that Faculty which we 
find in our felves, of being free (in many Cafes) to 
Act or not Act y or to Act after fuch a particular, 
manner, which is generally called the Will; and 
this is commonly laid to be free. Tho' I think (as 
m\h lT £of one natn obferved) (a) it is not fo proper a way of 
HumaneVnder- Speaking, as to fay, the Man is free. For beiides 
founding, t £ at \{ s no t ufual, nor indeed proper, to predicate 
one Faculty of another ; 'tis hardly good (enfe to 
fay the Will is free, in the manner now explain a ; 
for that would, be the fame thing as to fay, that a. 
free Power is free; whereas it is not the Power, but 
the Man that hath the Power, that is free. But how- 
ever the Other way of Expredion hath prevailed 
and doth do fo, and I don't think any one is mif- 
led by it into Error; for that which every body 
underftands and means by faying the Will of Man. 
is free y is, that Man hath in his Nature fuch a free 
Tower, as is called his Will. Now from hence it will 
not follow that a Man is free whether he will Will, 
or not ; for he mufi Will fomevvay, either to Act, 
or not to Acl: ; or to Act after fuch a particular 
manner. Bat it will follow, that when a Man hath 
made any particular Volition, or hath determined the 
Point whether he ihall Act, or forbear to Act ? he is 
then no longer at Liberty, as to this particular Cafe 
and Inflant; for the Determination is then actually 
made, and the Man no longer free not to make it,. 
But this proves nothing at all againfl the Liberty 
or Freedom of the Mind of Man. 

Again, what doth Mr, Hobls mean by the Will's 
heing the Neceffary Caufe of Voluntary Aclions & Doth 
he mean that the Will, of Man mud of Neceffity 


of Fate or Abfohtte Necejpty. 

ail freely , and produce Actions voluntarily ; if he 
doth, we are agreed ; but if he means that the Will 
is previoufly necedkated in every Act of Volition to 
Will jufl as it doth 7 and could not pofiibly have 
willed other wife ; this is to beg the Queiiion, and to 
take for granted the great thing in Difpute ; 'tis to 
call that out of Cont rover fie, which is the only thing 
in Controverfie ; which indeed, when a Man contra^ 
diets the Common Senfe and Reafon of Mankind, 
without Proof, is the heft way of Proceeding. 

But that which looks mofl like an Argument for 
the Neceflity of all Humane Actions, is this which 
he brings in the laft place. That Caufe (faith he) is 
a fufficient Caufe which wanteih nothing requifite to pro- 
duce its Effett, butfuch a Caufe mufi alfo be a Neceffary 
one ; for had it not neceffarily produced its Effeil, it. 
mufi have been becaufe fomething was wanting in it 
for that Purpofe, and then it could not have been fuffi- 
cient : So that whatever is produced, is produced ne- 
ceffarily ; for it could not have been at all without, 
a fufficient (or neceffary) Caufe ; and therefore alfo, all 
Voluntary Atlions are neceffitated. 

Now all this proves to his Purpofe (I think) juft 
nothing at all : He proceeds on in his former Error 
of confounding the Acl of Willing witli the Power of 
Willing ; and of making Hypothetical the fame with 
abfolute Neceffity ; for , not now to difpute what he* 
faith of every fufficient Caufe 's being a Neceffary one ; . 
allowing that when ever any Volition or Determi- 
nation is made, or when ever any Voluntary Action- 
is done, that the Will of Man was a fufficient Caufe. 
to produce that Eflect; nay, that it did at Jaft necef- 
farily produce it;, he can inferr nothing from hence. 

14 ^ Refutation of the Athtifiical Notion 

more than this ; That when the Will hath deter- 
mined or willed, 'tis no longer free to Will, or Nil! 
that particular thing at that particular Inftant ; which 
I don't believe any Body will ever, or ever did deny. 
But this will not prove at all that the Will was ne- 
ceflitated to make that Determination a Priori, and 
that it could have made no other; which yet is what 
he means,and ought to have clearly made out. For the 
fame Power or Faculty of Liberty, which enabled it to 
make that Determination , would have been a fuffi- 
cient Caule for it to have made another contrary to 
it, or differing from it : and then when that had 
been made, it would have been as neceflary as the 
former. And therefore that Definition of a Free 
Agent's being that, which when all things are prefent 
which are needful to produce the Ejfeff, can neverthe- 
lefs not produce it, ( tho' I don't think it the beft ) 
doth not, when rightly underiiood , imply any Con- 
tradiction, nor is it Nonfenfe at all. For the meaning 
of it is, That he is properly Free,who hath the Power 
of Determination in himfelf; and when all Re- 
quifites are ready, lb that nothing (hall extrinfecally 
either hinder him from, or compel him to A6t, can 
yet choole whether he will Act or not. 

Thus, if a Man hath Pen, Ink and Paper, and a 
place to write upon, his Rand well and at Liberty, 
and underftands how to write; he hath all things 
prefent that are needful to produce the Effetl of Wri- 
ting ; yet he can nevertheless not produce that Effetl • 
becaufe he can chooie alter all , whether he will 
write or no. 

Mr. Holhs defines a Free Agent to be him that 
can do if he will , and forbear if he will , and that 


of Fate or Abfolute Necejjity. i 5 

Liherty is the ahjence of all external Impediments (a) ; C") Tri P 0S > 
which if he intended any thing by it, but to palliate p * 3H " 
a bad Caufe, and to amufe the Perfon he wrote to, 
is as much Nonienfe and Contradiction to what he 
himfelf advances about Necefiity as is poffible. For 
how a Man can be laid to Act neceflarily, that hath 
no external Impediments to hinder him, or Caufes to 
compel him, but is free to Aft if he will or for hear if 
he will^s what I believe no Man can porlibly conceive. 

Thus we lee plainly, that this great Patron of Ne- 
cefiity hath very little to fay for his Darling Notion, 
and that he plainly contradicts and is Inconfiflent 
with himfelf. Had he indeed dared fpeak out, and 
thought it time to declare his Opinion freely , he 
would, no doubt, have proceeded on other Grounds 
in this Point, and made ufe of Arguments more 
agreeable to his Set of Principles : which being al- 
lowed him, would have demonftrated an abfolute 
Necefiity of all things whatfoever. For he was a 
thorough Corporealift, and maintained that there was 
nothing more in Nature , but Matter and Motion ; 
which if it were true, it is mo ft certain, that all 
Things and Actions craft be inevitably Fatal andNe- 
eeflary ; for (as Mr. Lock well obferves,) nothing but 
J : ht or Willing, in a Spirit, can begin Motion. 
The Necejfrty therefore in fuch an Hypothefis would 
be the true Ancient Democritick Fate , the vha& 
avdyiwr, or, as Epicurus calls it, rylf <pvcrix£>v ^ux^/uUvri, 
a through Mat y Mechanically producing 

all Things : or the Fate of the Naturalrfls 9 svho held no- 
thing bcfides Matter and Motion. But this Notion, 
for fome Reafofts beft known to himfelf, he did not 
think fit to infiu on, when he wrote this Trad againft 


i 6 A Refutation of the Atheiftical Notion 

— — ""~ — — — ■ \ 

the Liberty of Human Nature. Tho' his Succeilbr 
Spinoza, with, a little Variation did ; whofe Arguments 
we mull next confider. 

Spinoza , as I have formerly fhewed , was an 
Abfolute Corporealift as well as Mr. Hobhs ; but 
finding that Cogitation could never be accounted 
for from Matter and Motion only, he fuppofes Co- 
gitation Eflential to Matter ; and as he makes but 
one only Subftance in the World, which is the Matter 
of All Things, or God ; lb he fuppofes Cogitation 
to be one of the Eflential Attributes of this Dei- 
ty , as Extenfion is the other. And from hence 
he concludes, That all things, according to the Infinite 
variety of their fever al Natures , muft neceffarily flow 
from God or the whole, and mufl be juft what they are, 
and cannot be , nor could not pojjibly have been , any 
otherwife (a). He doth indeed Stile the Deity Caufa 
(a) Ex necef- Libera, and fay he is only fo (b). But the reafon he 
jhate Diving affigns for it, is only becaufe nothing can compel him 
Ihfaitis modT t0 > or binder him from doing any Thing ; but he ex- 
fe\ui debent. prefly denies him to have either Under/landing or 
Oj>.Poftfmm. Free Mm ( c ) Anc j f ie declares oftentimes, That all 

(O P- 17- things ^ ow fr° m the Deity by as Abfolute a Necejjity, 

00 P- 1 ^ as that the Three Angles of a Triangle are equal to 

Pclk.'cTSl ? m r *$t ° nes - And then as to the Mind of Man, he 

gives this Reafon why it cannot have any free Will; 

Quia mens ad hoc, vel illud Volendum determinatur a 

Causa, quce etiam ah alia, & hac iterum ab alia &flc 

in Infinitum (dj. The fame thing alfo he aliens in ano- 

(typ.pofthum. t ] ier pi ace (e) ? and from thence undertakes to prove 

Fe) 5 p. 28. a lf°> tnat God cannot have any FreelVill; and withal 

faith, That Underflanding and Will, as they are called, 

belong to the Nature of God, juft as Motion and Reft, 


of Fate or Abfolnte Necejfflty. i y 

and other Natural Things do, which are abfolutely deter- 
mined to Operate jufl as they do, and cannot do other- 
wife (a). Tills is the Argument of Spinoza, to prove r 4 \ p , 2 « 
that there is no foch thing as freedom in the Nature 
of Man, but that he is determined in every thing by 
Abfolute and Inevitable Necefiity. And this Ne- 
cefiity alfo 'tis plain according to him, is purely Thy- 
fical and Mechanical. 

As to the Refutation of which, I think, I have 
already effectually removed the foundation on which 
it is all built, by proving that there are fuch Beings 
as Immaterial Subjlances , and that God himfelf is fuch 
an One , or a Spirit (/). For all the Neceffity Spi~ Qb) vii. Serm. 
noza contends for, depends purely on his Notion of 4> & 5» 
the Deity; as appears (ufficiently from what I have 
produced of his words. If therefore it be true, that 
God be an Immaterial Subftance, a Being Difiincl from 
Nature, or the Univerfe ; and the Creator and Pro- 
ducer of all things, (as I think I have very clearly 
proved,) 'tis molt certain that the whole Chain of 
Spinoza's Argument for Necellky is broken to pieces. 
For the Reaion he afligns for the neceflary Operations 
of the Deity, are not the Perfections of his Nature de- 
termining him to Good and Juft, Lovely and Reafonahle 
things ; but that the Deity being Univerfal Nature, 
All things and Operations are Parts of him, and their 
feveral Ways and Manners of Acting and exifting 
according to the neceflary Laws of Motion and Me- 
chanifm , are his Under/landing and Will : which Ig- 
norant People, he faith, may perhaps take in a lite- 
ral Senfe, and think that God can properly Know or 
Will any thing ; but that in reality there is no fuch 
thins; as Under (landing or Free Will in God, fince 

C all 

A Refutation of the Atheijtical Notion 

all things flow from Him by Inevitable Neceflity. 
And if there be not any freedom in the Deity, that 
is in the whole, there can be none in Men, or in any 
ether Beings, who are but Parts of him. 

If this indeed be true, that there is no other God 
but Nature; then 'tis eafie to fee that all things muff, be 
governed by ahfolute Fatality, and be in every refpect 
FhyficaSy necejfary ; there can then be no fuch thing 
as Contingency, or any Voluntary A&ions ; and if 
we were lure of this, 'tis indeed the greateft Igno- 
rance and Folly in the World, to pretend to talk any 
thing about it. But on the other hand, if there be 
a Deity who is an Infinitely perfetl Being, diflincl 
from Nature : who Created all things by the Word of 
his Power, and for whofe file Pleafure they are and 
were Created , then none of thofe Confequences will 
follow ; but it will appear very reafonable to believe, 
that God hath ftill a Care and Providence over that 
World which he made at firft : and that he delights 
to exercife loving Kindnefs, Judgment and Right eoufnefs 
in the Earth; as the Prophet here fpeaks : That he 
hath made fome Creatures capable of Knowing and 
Vnderflanding this, and who confequently have a free 
Power, as in other things , fo of giving Praife and 
Glory to fo Great and Wonderful a Being, nay, and 
of Glorying themfelves in being capacitated to attain 
fo Excellent a Knowledge. And that Man hath fuch 
a Power or Freedom of Will, in his Nature, is what 
I fhall now proceed in the laft place plainly to 

i . And the firft Argument I fhall make ufe of to de- 
monftrate this,fhall be the Experience oj 'all 'Mankind. And 
this, one would think, fhould be of great Weight, 


of Fate or Abfolute Necejpty. 


and turn the Scale againft all the Atheiflical Me- 
taphyficks in the World ,- and fo, no doubt it would, 
were it not wicked Mens Interefl to advance the 
contrary Notion. Now that we have a free Power 
of deliberating, in many Cafes, which way 'tis befl 
for us to proceed ; that we can a& this way or that 
way , according as we like belt ; and that we can 
often forbear whether we will Acl at all, or not, is 
a Truth fo clear and manifeft, that we are (I think) 
almoff. as certain of it as we are of our own being 
and Exiftence ; and 'tis an unima- 
ginable thing how any Man can 
be perfwaded that he hath no fuch 

Power ( a ). Indeed , one may 
by Sophijlical words, Metaphyseal 
Terms, and abllrufe Unintelligible 
Banter, be perhaps a little amufed 
and confounded for the prefent. 
But that any one mould by fuch a 
Jargon be perfuaded out of his Sen- 
its, his Reafon, and his Experience, 
and continue in that Opinion , is 
what I do believe never yet befel 
any Rational and Thinking Man. 
When Zeno brought his filly So- 
phillical Argument to prove there 
was no fuch thing as Motion ; his 
Antagonill: thought it to no purpofe to return an An- 
fwer to what plainly was contradictory to the com- 
mon Senfe of Mankind ; and therefore convine'd him 
only, hy getting up and Walking. And the very fame 
Return will baffle and expofe all the Pretended Argu- 
ments for Neceflitv. For 'tis plain, Re had a Power 

C z fird 

(a) Had it not been a thing Unde- 
niable that the Will of Man is free, 
and had not Epicurus, and his Follower 
Lucretius, very well known that it was 
a thing which every one could not but 
experience in Himltlf,he had certainly, 
as a very Learned Perfon obferves 
(Pr.Lucas Enquiry after ffappincff,Vo]J. 
p. 1 5 6, 1 5 7. Jfollo wed his old MafterDe- 
moaitui, and afferted the Mind o/*Man 
to be as neceflarily and fatally moved 
by the ftrokes of his Atoms, as Natural 
and Irrational Bodies are. But this 
Opinion he was forced to dtfert, and 
to aiTert the Liberty of the Soul of 
Man ; and 'twas to make this out ac- 
cording to lus Senfelefs Hypothe(is,that 
he Invented that Unaccountable Ob- 
lique Motion of his Atoms-, which 
Lucretius calls Exiguum Clinamen Prin- 
cipiorum. Lib. 2. 

20 A Refutation of the Atheifikal Notion 

firft whether he would have walked or not, he could 
have walked Five Turns , or Fifty ,• he could have 
gone acrofs the Room, or length-wife; round it, or 
from Angle to Angle. And I dare fay, no Sophiftry 
or Metaphyficks whatever would have convinced 
him that none of thefe were in his Power, when he 
plainly found them all to be ib ; any more than he 
was convinced a Body could not move out of its place, 
when he had feen and tried a Thoufand times that it 
would. "Tis the fame thing in reference to the Thoughts 
o c our Minds,as it is in the Motions of our Bodies. We 
plainly find we have a Power in abundance of Cafes, 
to preferr one thought before another, and to remove 
our Contemplation from one Notion or Idea to ano- 
ther : We can , in our Minds, compare and revolve 
over the feveral Objects of our Choice; and we can 
oftentimes choofe whether we will do this, or not ; 
and this Internal Freedom in Reference to our 
Thoughts and Idea's, we do as plainly perceive, and are 
as furs of, as we are that we can voluntarily move 
our Bcdy or any part of it from place to place. And 
as I have plainly fhewed you above, our Adverfaries 
do grant and allow this when it is for their Turn. 

But they will fay, tho' we feem to he free, and do 
think and perceive our felves to be fo 9 yet in reality ive 
are not ; and it is only our Ignorance of Things and 
Caufes, which induces us to he of this miflaken Opi- 

( a~) Fallmtut nlon ( a )i an ^ f ^ e ^ ea °f Liberty which Men have /j\ 
hmties quodfe this, that they knownoCaufe of their Ac! ions ; for to fay 

hberos ejfe pu- 

tant, qua opinio in hoc filo cmfiftit, quod fuarum Attionum fint confcii, tfy Ignin Ciufarum a 
quibm determinant w. H*c ergo eft eorum liber tut is Idea q«od juxmm Alliinum nullam c>g- 
n^cunt Citufam. Nam qmd aiunt Intmaniis All'iones a Voiuntate fendere verba fitnt quorum 
mllam.habent L'eam. Bapr. Spinoz. Op Poftlmm. p. 73. Vid. ctiam, p. 37. 



of Fate or Abfolnie Necejpty. 1 1 

they depend on the Will, is to talk about what they do not 
twderftand) and to ufe words of which they have no Ideas 
at all. To which, I fay, that I cannot but be of the 
Opinion that it is a good Rational way enough of 
Proceeding, to pronounce of things according as we 
do experience them to be , and to declare them to 
be that which we have all the Rcafon in the 
World to think and believe that they really are. 
And I think we may well enough own and be con- 
tented with the Charge of Ignorance here laid upon 
us. For the Cafe is thus : We think our felves free, 
becaufe we plainly find and experiment our felves to 
be fo in a Thoufand Inftances ; and this alfo thefe Pe- 
netrating Gentlemen fometimes, as I have (hewed, do 
kindly allow ; and we are indeed wholly Ignorant of 
any Caufes that do ahfolutely determine us to Action ; or 
which do neceffitate us in what we do,previous to that 
free Power which we find in our felves ; fo that plainly 
perceiving our felves to have this free Power , and 
being Ignorant of any true Rcafon why we mould be- 
lieve we are miftaken in what we perceive and know, 
we do, indeed, (fuch is our Ignorance and Weaknefs) 
embrace the Opinion that there is a Liberty of Ac! ion 
rn Human Nature. And this free Power or Liberty 
which we find in us , we not being deep Metaphy- 
ficians, call the Will; by which we understand, 
as I have fhewed before, not any Particular Aft of 
Volition, but the Power or Faculty of Willing. And 
fmce we plainly perceive that in many cafes we are 
not determined to Aclion by any thing without us, 
but do choofe or refufe, aft or not al~i , according as 
we pleafe ; and being withal grofly Ignorant of any 
Caufe thefe A&ions have, but what we find and per- 

22 d Refutation of the Athtifiical Notion 

ceive them to have, we call our free Will the Caufe 

ofthefe Aft ions, and fay they defend on it : and yet 

after all, do we not find out, that we talk about what 

we do not underftand, and ufe words that we have no 

Idea of. But our Adverfaries, it feems, have a quite 

different rellifh of things, they foar in a higher and 

more fubtle Region , they will not condefcend to 

fpeak common fenfe in this Matter ; Tha they plainly 

underftand, (as they tell us) that they are really free 

as to many Anions , and can deliberate whether they 

will do them or not, purely becaufe they have a free 

(a) sp\m\* Power fo to do (a) ; tho' they are fatisfied that they 

ci7JsDmonfl can a ^ % the ) "**• or forbear if they will (b); yet 

p. 103. they fay this is in reality a Miftake, and that there is 

If) Hobbs Tri- no fj Cn thing as freedom after all, but that alJ A&ions 

pos, p. 314- are abiblutely neceflltated. And as for the Power or 

Faculty which is vulgarly called the Will ; that fome- 

times is one thing ibmetimes another, according as 

they think fit to name it. Sometimes 'tis an Att of 

Volition that follows the Ultimum diclamen Intelleflus, 

and fometimes 'tis the Under/landing itfelffcj. Now 

(c) spin. op. 'tis nothing but an Idea ( d ), and by and by a meer 

jyM.p.87,88. £ ns Rationis (d), or an Imaginary Caufe of A&ion, 

(fljbid^.199. which Ignorant Men have fanfied that they have in 

{0 P. 73- themfelves (e). So hard is it for Men that fly fo high, 

to have a difiinft view of any thing below. But 

I proceed, 

2. To another Argument, for the freedom of Hu- 
mane Nature; and that is, the monftrous Abfurdities 
and Conferences of the contrary Opinion. For the 
AfTertion that all our Adions are neeelikated , it 
perfectly deftroys the Notions of Good and Evil, 
Rewards and Punifhments, and of all manner of Obli- 

of Fate or Ah folate Necefpty. 22 

^ — ~ * -.I . ., 

gation both to Divine and Human Laws : and confe- 
quently is the molt Deftructive Principle, that can be 
advanced, to the Good of Society. I have already 
proved that there is a Natural Diftin£tion between 
Anions as to Good and Evil, that this is plainly dis- 
coverable by the Light of Reafon, and that all Na- 
tions in all Ages of the World have been (enfible of 
it ; and if this be proved, (as I think it hath been) 
we ought not to defert it, only becaufe we can't readily 
folve all the Difficulties about the Freedom of the 
Will of Man, which a Sceptical Man may raife againfl 
it ; much lefs ought we to embrace an Opinion that 
perfectly ContradiSs it ; as this of abfolute Neceffity 
certainly doth. For if all things and Actions what- 
ever are abfblutely Neceflary , and cannot poffibly be 
otherwife than they are ; there can be nofuch thing 
as Good or Evil, Right or Wrong , Honourable or 
Bttfefoc. And why ihould any Creatures trouble them- 
felves about paying any Veneration to the Deity, if 
that he could not help making them juft fuch as they 
are ? and if he hath abfoluteiy necefiitated them to 
do juft as they do I God hath, according to thefe 
Horrid Principles, no Natural Right to any Obedience 
from us , as a free Agent would, who had out of his 
own gracious Goodnefs bellowed (o many Gifts and 
Mercies upon us. This Mr. Hohbs well knew, and 
therefore he tells us, That there is no Obedience due 
to God out of Gratitude to him for Creating or Prefer- 
ring us, &c. (d) but what we pay him, is founded only 00 Zeviatk. 
in his Irrefefiible Power. p * l * 7 ' 

And fo likewife, as to Human Laws and the Good 
of the Government or Commonwealth where we are 
placed. No Man , according to thefe Abominable 


9 a A Refutation of the Atheijlical "Notion 

Tenets, hath any Obligation upon him to obey Ru- 
lers, to be juft and honeft in his Dealings, to be 
loving and merciful , helpful and beneficial to his 
Neighbours.; but he may Rebel, Murder, Rob, and 
Opprefs, without being Subject to any guilt at all ; 
and if he can but efcape Punifhment from the Magi- 
ftrate he is fafe enough , and hath no reafon to be 
difturbed in his own Mind ,• for he can't help any 
of all this, he is under an abfolute neceflity of doing 
what he doth, and no one ought to blame him for 
it. Indeed, Spinoza fays, That the Government may, 
if they think fit, put fuch a Man to Death ; but not 
becaufe he is Guilty and deferves it , but becaufe he is 
Mifchievous and Dangerous to them, and therefore is 
to be feared. And when one wrote to him on this 
Point, alledging, that if the Will were not free, All 
(a)spinox.op. V lce would he excu fable ; he Anfwers, Quidinde (a) > 
PoJlhumy,<iS6 Nam homines mali non minus timendi funt, nee minus 
perniciofi, quando neceffario mali funt. 

By which he plainly allows that all Wickednefs is 
excufable, ' tho' it be not always tolerable, as it is not 
when it becomes formidable. Fear is that which ac- 
cording to thefe Men doth every thing in the World, 
in this Cafe. A Subject pays Obedience to the Laws, 
not becaufe he thinks himfelf bound in Confcience (b 
to do, or becaufe it is juft and reafonable ; but becaufe 
he is afraid of Punifhment if he do not do it. And 
the Magiftrates Punifh an Offender, not becaufe they 
think he hath committed any Fault, or is Guilty of 
any Crime properly fpeaking ; but becaufe They are 
afraid of Him, and under an apprehenfion that he is 
likely to do them a Mifchief. And thus a Man that 
is guilty of all manner of Immorality, an AlTaflinator 


of Fate or Abfolnte Necejpty. 25 

of Princes, a Firer of Cities, a Betrayer of his Coun- 
try, a Poifoner, Coiner, a Common Robber, or the 
moft flagitious Villain that can be imagined, is as In- 
nocent as a Saint from any guilt of Sin he hath upon 
him ; for he is neceffttated to do what he doth, he 
can t help it, any more than another Man can, that 
a&s virtuoufly, as 'tis called : and therefore he may 
and ought to have as much Peace and Satisfaction in 
his own Mind, and as much Refpeft and Honour paid 
him from others too, provided they are not afraid 'of 
him, as ever any Man had. 

But will not fuch a Principle as this be the mofl 
mifchievous and dangerous to Mankind that can pof- 
fibly be > Doth it not open a Door to all the Wicked - 
nefs that can pofiibly enter into the Heart of Man to 
commit > And confequently ought not all Govern- 
ments to he afraid^ as they themfelves would exprels 
it, of Men that vent fuch Notions as thefe, fo plainly 
contradictory to, and inconfiflent with the Good of 
Human Society ? 

And as this is a mofl pernicious^ fo 'tis the mod 
Impudent and Daring Opinion that ever was advan- 
ced : for it charges all Mankind in all Ages of the 
World, with the moft grofs and palpable Folly that 
can be : For, befides that it gives the Lye to the Ex- 
perience and certain Knowledge of every Body, as I 
lliewed before; it renders all Laws, and Rules of 
A&ion, and all the Sanctions of them, ridiculous : 
it makes all Advice and Exhortation ufelefs, and to no 
purpofe ; all Cenfure, Tunifhment and Reproof is Vnjuft 
andlfnreafonahle \ All Honours and Rewards it renders 
Unmerited \ And all Knowledge^ Wifdom, Care and 
Circumfpeftion, become by this means, the mofl foo- 

D lifh 

2 6 A Refutation of the Atheiflical Notion 

lifh and unaccountable things in the World ; for if all 
things are governed by Abfohte Fatality, any one may 
fee that all thefe things fignifie Nothing at all , but 
'tis plain, the Wilefl: Part of the World as they have 
been juftly efteemed, are in reality the greateft Fools 
and moii flupid Idiots that can be : for they encou- 
rage Men to act well, and difcourage them from 
doing amifs, by Elaborate and Studied Methods, when 
after all, 'tis impoffible according to this Notion, that 
any one can poffibly avoid doing juft as he doth. 

Nor can I fee how thefe wonderful Difcoverers 
themfelves, that have thus luckily found out that all 
Mankind are miftaken in thinking themfelves Free, 
when they are not fo ; I can't fee, I fay, how accor- 
ding to their own Notions they can be acquitted from 
being as Ignorant and Miftaken, and as arrant Fools as 
the reft of Mankind. For why do they write Books, 
and fpin out fuch Elaborate Treatifes as they fanfie 
they do ? and why mould they fet themfelves up a- 
bove others, and ex peel: Praife and Glory for their 
fine Thoughts and elevated Notions? they can't furebe 
fo Ignorant as to expe£fc to convince any Body, or to 
Prolelyte any one over to their Opinion ? Can any 
Man help being of that Opinion he embraces? if he 
can, he hath free Will, and is not neceflitated to hold 
what he doth hold ; which deltroys all they are fo 
fludioufly advancing. But if he cannot alter his Opi- 
nion freely, but is abfolutely neceflitated to believe 
what he doth believe ; how ridiculous is it to pretend 
to Difpute or Argue in fuch a Cafe ? They will fay, 
no doubt, that they are neceffitated to write, and 
can't help it : But if the Government mould Plead 
the fame thing, for Punifhing them for fo doing; 


of Fate or Abfolute Necejpty. 

they would, we know, make a large out-cry againfl 
Perfecution, and the J-fringement of that Native Li- 
berty ■, that every Man hath to enjoy his own Opi- 
nion. For thefe Gentlemen make ufe of Liberty and 
Neceffity, according as it bed ferves . their purpofe. 
When they commit Immoralities and Wicked Actions; 
they then ought not to be punifhed either by God or 
Man, becaufe they are necejfitated to do it, and cant 
help it. But if a Government, judging fuch Notions 
deftructive to the Good of Human Society, and con- 
trary to the exprefs Word of God, thinks fit- to Pro- 
hibit the Propagation of them , and to Punifh the 
Authors of them : How do thefe Men then Cry up 
the Liberty of Human Nature ? then every Man's 
Opinion ought to be free, no Compulfion mud be 
ufed, every Man's Confcience is to be his Guide, and 
the like. But how ridiculoufly Vain is all this, accor- 
ding to thefe Principles ? Is not the Magiftrate as much 
neceflitated to Punifh as they are to Offend ? and the 
Government to make Laws as they are to break them 2 
Oh by no means ! They would be free to Sin and to 
commit Wicked nefs , and then neceffitated not to be 
Puniihed. They would have Men think them necef- 
fitated in all their Actions, fo as to excufe them from 
blame, and they would have the Magiftrate free to 
forbear Punilhing them, tho' he think them never fo 
guilty. That is, in fhort, they would do what they 
pleafe, and no one mould call them to an Account 
for it ; they would act like Fools, and yet bethought 
Wife Men ; they would proceed contrary to Reafon, 
and yet have the Reputation of having Principles, 
and purfuing the Dictates of Reafon and Truth: 
And they would build themfelves a Reputation in 


i-8 A Refutation of the Atheijiical Notion, &c. 

the World by advancing Paradoxes contrary to the 
common Senfe and Reafon of Mankind : by preten- 
ding to a higher pitch of Knowledge than their Neigh- 
bours, and by calling all the reft: of the World Fools 
and Ignorant. In a word they would fay, with thofe 
in the Pfalmift, We are they that ought to /peak, who 
is Lord over us. This, I am fully perfwaded, is what 
they aim at in all their Arguments and Objections 
againft: Religion, and particularly in the buftle that 
they make about this Point, of the Abjtlute Necejftty 
of All Events and Attions. Which how weakly they 
Prove,and how contradictorily they Maintain, againft 
the Common Senfe and Experience of all Mankind, 
I think I have fufficiently iliewn. 



REmarks upon fome late Papers relating to the Univerfal 
Deluge, and to the Natural Hiftory of the Earth. 
By John Harris, M. A. and Fellow of the Royal-Society* 
In OftwQ.